Hibs debrief: Squad shortages laid bare in Rijeka defeat
If some of this seems familiar it’s because it’s been said before on more than one occasion.
Regardless of individual errors and injuries, the squad is in dire need of reinforcements.
Had Paul Hanlon and Christian Doidge been fit and available it might not have been so immediately obvious. But a bench with very few game-changing options on it and a makeshift defence before and after the red card illustrates just how badly Hibs are screaming out for reinforcements at the back and up top.
Once McGregor was sent off Jack Ross was left with 17-year-old Jack Brydon or defender-turned-midfielder Alex Gogic as his only options for beefing up the backline and neither one was ideal.
While we don’t yet know for how long Doidge or Hanlon will be sidelined – although Ross did indicate the striker’s injury “doesn’t look great” – the side needs one or two central defenders and at least another forward if Hibs are to at least equal last season’s performance.
Teeth will be gnashed about Hibs blowing it in another big game but that would be doing the side a disservice. They responded well to going a goal down and Kyle Magennis scored his third goal in four games to give the Easter Road side hope and they were very much in the ascendancy until the red card.
It feels too soon to mark this match as another failure in a big game – but work certainly needs done on squad depth.
Player of the match
Slim pickings but Magennis deserves credit for his goal and Jake Doyle-Hayes can be happy with his performance. Martin Boyle and Jamie Murphy also showed glimpses of their talent.
McGregor’s red card. For it to come so soon after Hibs’ goal, when they were in the ascendancy, made matters worse.
Donatas Rumšas flashed early yellows at McGregor and Joe Newell and although the defender’s second booking was soft, he can have no complaints. Correctly cautioned Pavicic for diving in the first half.
Moment you may have missed
Hanlon gets a lot of grief from Hibs fans but he was a big miss in Croatia. His stats last season illustrate just how effective an operator he is and the defence is noticeably, and alarmingly, weaker without him in it.