Hibs academy chief makes first team claim as he challenges players to seal unbeaten Reserve League campaign

Hibs academy chief Steve Kean has challenged the Easter Road side’s second string to ensure they avoid losing at Queen of the South in the final SPFL Reserve League fixture to not only win the title but complete the campaign unbeaten.
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In their eight games so far Hibs have recorded six wins and two draws, and have one hand on the title. Depending on the final score at Palmerston and results elsewhere, Dundee United or Motherwell could pip Hibs to the bragging rights, but so long as the Capital club avoids defeat, the title will be theirs regardless of other scorelines.

“In the Development Squad and in the Academy the main focus is always technical improvement, tactical understanding, and helping the lads to learn the game,” Kean said after Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. “But, as you move closer to the first team, you have to develop a desire to win or an appetite to win a championship; that’s a different type of attribute you need in men’s football. To go a whole campaign, and hopefully stay unbeaten, and win a championship, is another side of the development when you’re in touching distance of the first team.”

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Kean was pleased that his charges were able to leave Ayrshire with all three points, having spurned a number of chances, including a missed penalty, last time out against Motherwell and being held to a 1-1 draw at East Mains. Ethan Laidlaw got the ball rolling before Josh O’Connor added a second-half brace with Laidlaw assisting both efforts.

Steve Kean has urged Hibs reserves to end the campaign unbeaten and win the leagueSteve Kean has urged Hibs reserves to end the campaign unbeaten and win the league
Steve Kean has urged Hibs reserves to end the campaign unbeaten and win the league

“There wasn’t a flow to the first half, it was a little stop-start. In the second half we were much better, kept the ball better, and it could’ve been more than the result showed. We were very comfortable in the second half and Murray Johnson had very little to do,” he continued.

“We changed the system at half-time. At first, we started with a back three and wing-backs and then changed to a back four to give us an extra player in the middle of the pitch. It allowed us to play through the middle of the pitch, we kept the ball better, and got better service to Josh and Ethan. The players adapted well to the tactical change.”