'We just need a jammy goal or a deflection' - Sylvester Jasper speaks on Hibs' goal drought
Hibs forward Sylvester Jasper would take a deflection, a flukey goal, or a penalty to stop the Easter Road side’s drought in front of goal after Shaun Maloney’s side drew a third successive blank in Saturday’s meeting with St Johnstone.
More than 19,000 fans turned out for the ‘Football for a Fiver’ match but they were shortchanged by a lack of meaningful action on the pitch from both teams, although the hosts had more attempts on target, for what it’s worth.
Jasper was one player in a green shirt who forced Zander Clark into a save, while his pace and trickery was a highlight on a day of few positive notes for the injury-hit Hibees.
"I feel like we just need something; we might need a jammy goal or a deflection or a penalty or something like that,” the on-loan Fulham attacker suggests.
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"In football, once you get one, they all start flowing. I feel we just need something like that to get us going, and we’ll be good from there.”
“It’s hard, but we can still put 11 players on the pitch – and they are Hibs players who found their form – so yes, it’s a big setback when you’ve lost your captain and so many important players, but you’ve still got to take responsibility, you can’t look for excuses.
"We are on the pitch to perform and get results, and we didn’t do that [against St Johnstone], so we can have no complaints.”
Jasper sighs heavily as he reflects on the stalemate with Callum Davidson’s side.
"It was extremely frustrating. We were the better team throughout and we created more chances but we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net, which is the most important thing in football. If you don’t do that, you’re not going to win games.
"We are in a bit of a slump right now. But we are working on it, and we will continue working on trying to be ruthless in front of goal.”
The 20-year-old Bulgarian under-21 cap insists he would happily spend extra time in training trying to rectify Hibs’ shot-shyness.
"We’ve got to look back at the games and look for patterns and see where the manager can change, and then we as players have got to work on being more ruthless.
"Maybe that means staying behind in training and working on certain situations and scenarios that might come up in a game.
"We need to be ready and prepared for it. We need to be as good as we can be and put in as much work as we possibly can to make sure we are 100 per cent ready for the opportunities that come our way.”
Jasper’s display did have the fans out of their seats at times – he has an arsenal of tricks and flicks at his disposal – but he insists the final result is the most important thing, no matter how well he might have performed on an individual basis.
"I felt like I tried to make things happen with the ball and create for my team-mates, but at the end of the day we didn’t win the game, which is the most important thing.
"You can play the best game in the world, but if you don’t win, the fans aren’t happy and we’re not happy, so it doesn’t really matter.
"As long as I can just keep helping the team, in whatever way I can, and we win games, then I’m happy.”
Hibs had earmarked this fixture for their cheap football initiative, choosing to give something back to St Johnstone with McDiarmid Park the cheapest away day for Hibs fans. But even with a bumper crowd inside a sunny Easter Road, both sets of supporters left wondering what might have been.
Maloney echoed Jasper’s comments about the fans, adding: “It’s disappointing we were not able to get them the win.
"The crowd turned up in big numbers. I’m disappointed for them, although I don’t think I can ask any more from my players in terms of effort.
"The first nil-nil was very positive, against Celtic, and the last two were more disappointing. But I have thrown myself into this job, I was at the AGM the other day, speaking to supporters.
"I want to give them a team they love coming to watch. I have been here, and played against teams with numerous creative players and I want us to have that.
"What we have is a good foundation defensively but really in the next few months we have to get the squad in a position where we have both.
"At the moment we don’t. We are very good defensively, but on the creative side we are definitely lacking a bit of quality and a bit of confidence.
"I think that is maybe understandable with younger players.”
Jasper continues: “I know fans can’t come out to every single game but when they do come out like that, you want to put on a good performance and get a good result.
"Unfortunately we couldn’t do it, but hopefully there will be a lot more times when we can make the fans happy.”
While the team needs results, starting with Sunday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final tie at Motherwell, Jasper insists the approaching split in the Scottish top flight has little impact on his desire to win.
"I just try to take every game as it comes. There is pressure in football, and in every game I want to win and play well, split or no split.
"It’s not like if there wasn’t a split there’d be less pressure, because I put that on myself to help the team do as well as we can. Trust me – we’ll work on it."