Hibs' 2021 end-of-year awards: Player of the year, best goal, funniest moment, tactical masterclass
Player of the Year
Martin Boyle is the easy and correct answer. He’s netted 24 times for his club since January, a ridiculously potent goalscoring record. He’s also undoubtedly the club’s most important player and every member of the Easter Road faithful was delighted to see him sign a new deal in the summer.
The best moment came courtesy of the best player. With league form on the slide and the team not having played in a while due to a Covid-19 outbreak, nobody gave them much of a chance in the Premier Sports Cup semi-final against Rangers. This was an underestimation of Boyle’s potential impact as the attacker netted a first-half hat-trick to push Hibs into the final.
Let’s go all the way back to January 16 and give it to one of the least likely contenders. Alex Gogic only scored once in 2021 but it was an absolute belter, smashing the ball high into the roof of the net from the edge of the box to seal a 2-0 home win over Kilmarnock.
Worst goal conceded
The ball was in play for just 11 seconds before Celtic equalised through Kyogo Furuhashi in the Premier Sports Cup final. In terms of calamities, there was probably worse, but c’mon! Eleven seconds?!
Hard to find anything better than Paul McMullan launching himself to score one of the most spectacular own goals Easter Road has ever seen in Hibs’ 1-0 win over Dundee.
Having already been defeated by St Johnstone in the League Cup semi-final, surely lightning wasn’t going to strike twice at the national stadium when they met again in the Scottish Cup final? We don’t even need to finish this section. You know what happened next.
A tough selection with nobody truly standing out. Jackson Irvine probably made the biggest impact, but it doesn’t feel right giving an award to someone who was only here for four months. Let's go for Chris Cadden. He’s been hampered by injuries a bit, but getting a proven Premiership player who can play multiple positions and is still only 25 remains a great bit of business.
Matt Macey is a solid cinch Premiership goalkeeper, but it’ll be a long time before somebody adequately replaces Ofir Marciano in the hearts of Hibs fans.
Future trivia answer
Nathan Wood was signed to give Hibs some decent cover at centre-back behind Paul Hanlon and Ryan Porteous. Instead, he played one game, looked out of his depth and was never seen again.
Best tactical masterclass
After playing with a back four most of the season, former manager Jack Ross changed his team into a 3-4-1-2 for the semi-final against Rangers with youngster Josh Campbell coming into the starting XI to help lead the press from the front. It worked to perfection.
The Martin Boyle award for most improved
Kyle Magennis would’ve been a strong candidate if he’d managed to stay fit, but instead let’s go for Campbell. He went from playing for Edinburgh City to starting against Celtic at Hampden in six months. It’s hard to imagine a bigger leap than that.