Hibs recap: Hanlon injury repercussions, ref watch, did Ross bungle key substitution?

Jack Ross and No.2 John Potter look on as Hibs draw 2-2 with St JohnstoneJack Ross and No.2 John Potter look on as Hibs draw 2-2 with St Johnstone
Jack Ross and No.2 John Potter look on as Hibs draw 2-2 with St Johnstone
There were four goals in Hibs’ home match with St Johnstone on Tuesday night and, well, not a lot else to be honest.

Even the pattern of scoring was similar: St Johnstone take the lead, Hibs equalise relatively soon after. The Easter Road side had the unlikely figure of right-back Paul McGinn to thank for securing a point while a first-half injury to Paul Hanlon may well have contributed to a defensive downfall in the second half.

Player of the match

It has to be Paul McGinn, who twice rampaged forward to get Hibs back on level terms. Before Tuesday night’s game, the 30-year-old had scored nine career goals and none for Hibs. He picked a good time to open his account.

Key moment

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Would Hibs have been as calamitous in defence when David Wotherspoon scored if Paul Hanlon had been on the park? After he was forced off with injury in the first half and Darren McGregor subbed on in his place, the defence lacked a ball-playing centre-back capable of calming things down and organising the defence. He's not the loudest of captains but his absence was keenly felt.

Thanks for the laugh

Scott Tanser slipping on the rain-soaked turf and Stevie Mallan tripping over Tanser was pure slapstick. All that was missing was Callum Davidson running onto the pitch with a custard pie.

In hindsight…

Replacing Alex Gogic early in the second half with Christian Doidge may have been a statement of intent by Jack Ross but the defence looked horribly exposed at times, including when Wotherspoon ambled through to fire the visitors in front. Gogic may not be the most glamorous of players but he protects the defence in a way it wasn't once he was off the park. Of course, had Doidge scored the winner it would have been tactical brilliance, but as he didn’t…

Ref watch

Kevin Clancy enjoyed a straightforward evening; booking Darren McGregor for a trademark agricultural challenge and dishing out the mandatory lecture to Liam Craig.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There were no flashpoints in a good-tempered game and the whistler will no doubt hope his other matches this season are as straightforward.

Reasons to be cheerful

A quick glance on social media after the game appeared to show a number of hacked-off supporters. Popular targets included style of play, Stevie Mallan, the result, Stevie Mallan, the lack of defensive options, and Stevie Mallan. Everyone loves a scapegoat. For the record, Mallan didn't have a bad game, but the jury’s still out on whether him and Newell can operate in the same midfield.

Leaving aside the result a quick look at the league table shows Hibs in third place, four points off Celtic in second. Yes, the Hoops and Aberdeen (fourth on goal difference) have games in hand and yes, there’s a good chance Hibs won't be third for long. But after Saturday's Betfred Cup meeting with Dundee Hibs have four winnable matches against Motherwell, Hamilton, Dundee United and St Mirren. Twelve points isn't impossible.

On top of that, the arrival of centre-back Leland Archer and central midfielders Robbie Crawford and Thomas Roberts on trial spells from Charleston Battery and FC Dallas suggests that the recruitment team at Easter Road are only too aware of where the side needs strengthened.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers. If you haven't already, please consider supporting our sports coverage with a digital sports subscription.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.