Hibs debrief: One final push needed as Hibs turn into the home straight

There are still Hibs fans out there who seem to age 25 years when you mention the goalless draw at a fogbound Stair Park in January 2002.
Smiles all round as Paul Hanlon and Jackson Irvine congratulate Christian Doidge on his openerSmiles all round as Paul Hanlon and Jackson Irvine congratulate Christian Doidge on his opener
Smiles all round as Paul Hanlon and Jackson Irvine congratulate Christian Doidge on his opener

It was a little less muddy this time around and it’s fair to say Jack Ross is under significantly less pressure than Franck Sauzee, but in these one-off cup ties there is always the potential for an upset – just ask Hearts.

There was nothing to worry about this time around. Stranraer goalkeeper Greg Fleming had a fine game and while he couldn't match Mark McGeown’s clean sheet in 2002 he can hold his head up high as can all of his team-mates.

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But Hibs have become a very efficient, relentless, well-drilled machine. Even the replacement parts – in yesterday’s case, Matt Macey and Kyle Magennis – click into place with no issues, no need for an extra dab of 3-In-One.

The finish line is in sight but in some ways it might never have looked so far away. Hibs have four league games remaining plus the Scottish Cup; a maximum of seven games in which they need a repeat of yesterday’s game.

If the players can keep putting in these sorts of performances in both competitions then third place should be sewn up and a decent cup run on the cards.

Player of the match

If Kevin Nisbet had found the net with more of his chances he would have been a shoe-in. As it was, Martin Boyle’s relentless pace and energy will be giving the Blues defenders sleepless nights for a week. Dangerous crosses, a fair number of efforts, a goal, and a well-struck penalty means he scoops the prize.

Defining moment

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Has to be Doidge's opener. Although Stranraer hadn’t really caused Hibs too many issues, the longer it went without a goal, the part-timers would have fancied their chances of an upset.

Referee watch

David Munro had a fairly straightforward game. Called the penalty right and got the cards out when the game threatened to get a bit towsy late on.

In case you missed it…

For those who remain on the fence about Jackson Irvine, his passing in the middle of the park is the stuff of dreams and on another day he might have bagged an assist or two.

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