Hibs debrief: Banana skin avoided, but repeat performances needed
Lower-league opposition, an artificial pitch, snow, a televised game… all the components were there for a cup upset.
In truth though Hibs were never really in danger at Palmerston Park last night. There were one or two moments that may have quickened defensive pulses, when the likes of Connor Shields and Stephen Dobbie threatened but as soon as Hibs settled they looked comfortable and Christian Doidge’s goal just before half-time was exactly what they needed.
Nineteen shots on goal speaks for itself, as does 63 per cent possession – although the margin of victory should have been greater. Queens have impressed on league duty recently but Hibs were simply too strong.
It’s now imperative that the Easter Road side builds on this performance by producing similar in their remaining league and cup games. If there's been one lingering criticism of this Hibs team, it’s been an inability at times to build on good performances, or maintain a certain level. If they can do that, third place – and potentially a cup final appearance – should be achievable.
Player of the match
Doidge scored two and hit the post so is the obvious choice but Alex Gogic was immense supporting the attack, or helping out in defence while Joe Newell continues to impress in the middle of the park – his determination to pick up the ball in his own penalty area and drive forward before threading it through for Doidge’s second was sumptuous.
Matt Macey’s save from Connor Shields at 1-0 was the turning point. Had Macey conceded at that stage it is very possible that Queens may have seized the momentum and we’ve seen all too often how Hibs can crumble under pressure.
Willie Collum will scarcely have an easier game. No badness from either side, correctly waved away a half-hearted penalty claim from Stephen Dobbie, and carded Paul Hanlon for a high challenge.
In case you missed it…
Gogic seemed to have a more roving role: so often the midfield lynchpin, last night he was tasked with supporting the attack and helping out his defence and still managed to register an assist. It remains to be seen if Gogic transitioning from enforcer to box-to-box dynamo is a long-term decision but on this showing, it was a successful experiment.