Hibs debrief: Allan return a bright spot in dark day at Hampden

Sometimes after matches we compile a piece titled “three things we learned". Except we didn’t actually learn anything we didn't already know from Hibs’ latest Hampden heartache.
Seeing Scott Allan back on a football field was a sight for sore, Hibee eyesSeeing Scott Allan back on a football field was a sight for sore, Hibee eyes
Seeing Scott Allan back on a football field was a sight for sore, Hibee eyes

Prone to defensive lapses; guilty of lacking a cutting edge when it matters, and seemingly stricken with stage fright in big matches is nothing new for diehard fans or casual spectators.

Does the team lack larger-than-life figures in the dressing room? Is it a lack of belief? It’s very easy to point the finger at Jack Ross but there were players on the field against St Johnstone who have failed to produce the goods at Hampden or in other big games under different managers, suggesting that the problem is more complex than it may appear.

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Then again, football can be something of a lottery; if Jackson Irvine's header had hit the post and gone in, or Jamie Murphy had beaten Zander Clark, we may have had a totally different match on our hands.

Player of the match

Shaun Rooney or Chris Kane. From a Hibs point of view, you’d be struggling to find someone deserving of such credit. Jackson Irvine fought until the end; Josh Doig was impressive in the first half, and Scott Allan showed glimpses of what the team has been missing but the less said about the others, the better.

Defining moment

If one of Murphy's two efforts had gone in then the game would surely have unfolded differently.

Referee watch

Nick Walsh took charge of his first major cup semi-final and didn't have a great deal to do. Yellow card for Allan was harsh and he might have let play continue at times rather than halting it for a foul and booking.

Benefit of hindsight

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Jack Ross is clearly a fan of Chris Cadden but starting him in a national cup semi-final when his last 90 minutes came in October seemed bold pre-match, and bizarre when he was taken off after 51 minutes. Especially so when, in Melker Hallberg, Hibs had a fully-fit, versatile player with five assists who could have been deployed in a number of positions in several different formations.

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