Player of the season
Lewis Stevenson won the club’s award for again dutifully filling in at several positions throughout the season and never letting the team down. Chris Cadden deserves some consideration for always being a threat down the right flank, but we’ll go for Ryan Porteous. Yes, the centre-back missed a good few games due to being sent off three times (once retrospectively) but otherwise he was hugely important to Hibs in both a defensive and attacking sense. While there are still a few wrinkles to iron out, he improved hugely in terms of his concentration and positioning over the campaign.
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Martin Boyle’s third goal in the Premier Sports Cup semi-final win over Rangers. Few gave Hibs a chance as they were a) in bad form, and b) had suffered a lengthy lay-off due to Covid. But when Boyle tucked away that penalty, completing his hat-trick in the process, it essentially pushed Jack Ross’ side into a cup final meeting with Celtic.
Jake Doyle-Hayes’ thunderous effort in the win over Ross County – a rare highlight under Shaun Maloney’s stewardship – was a genuine goal of the season contender. The midfielder had already struck a ferocious effort earlier in the match, though there was more than a hint of a goalkeeping error about that one. The same cannot be said for his second, which flew off his foot and crashed into the far corner of the net.
It says a lot about Hibs’ recruitment this campaign that 16 players were signed and the answer to this is a little tough – and not in a good way. It’s probably Harry Clarke on an 18-month loan from Arsenal, even though the defender wasn’t fit enough to make his debut until March. He was consistently good for the Hibees; not something you can say about every other signing made this season.
Future trivia answer
Anyone else remember Nathan Wood? The centre-back was brought in after it became apparent Hibs badly needed quality reserve at the position following the Europa League exit to Rijeka. He was a reserve, but quality he was not. Played once, didn’t impress and was never seen again.
Losing at Hampden to Hearts again was hardly the most pleasurable experience for the Hibs faithful, but supporters at least recognise their team refused to lay down and die despite going down 2-0 early to a couple of excellent goals. It was a very different kettle of fish at Tynecastle the week prior as the visitors took an early lead but ultimately meekly surrendered in the second half as the hosts won 3-1, clinching Europe for themselves and knocking Hibs into the bottom six.
Seeing your greatest rivals lose a cup final will always get a chuckle, though the context surrounding it (Hearts already getting eight games in Europe) reduced the mirth somewhat compared with prior years. Let’s go for Porteous’ post-game interview after the Rangers semi win where he trolled the recently-departed Steven Gerrard. Not sure much for the moment itself, but for how much it clearly got under the skin of seemingly every Rangers fan on Twitter.