Hibs striker enjoying life back at the sharp end - and has eyes on Hearts

'We will see' how big gap is between city clubs, says attacker
Dylan Vente is buried under a green-and-white pile-on after opening the scoring against Dundee.Dylan Vente is buried under a green-and-white pile-on after opening the scoring against Dundee.
Dylan Vente is buried under a green-and-white pile-on after opening the scoring against Dundee.

Hibs striker Dylan Vente insists he’s back to his dangerous best after being restored to a position as the focal point of his team’s attack. And he says Nick Montgomery’s men will do anything but mind the gap between themselves and Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday night – because they believe a famous Edinburgh derby victory is within their power.

Vente bagged his first goal since December 3 when he opened the scoring from the penalty spot in Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Dundee. He also saw a second-half goal disallowed for offside, was a constant menace in leading the line - and was applauded from the pitch when he made way for Adam Le Fondre in the closing minutes of a dramatic contest.

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The Dutchman, who scored three goals in Montgomery’s first three games as gaffer, was one of several square pegs shoved into round holes during an injury crisis that left Hibs struggling to put together a workable starting XI, often asked to play as a second striker – alien to someone who has always been a No.9. Low on confidence and struggling for form, he had even been dropped from the starting XI for the previous two games.

Back up top, with Emiliano Marcondes in the No.10 role and a pair of dangerous wingers in Myziane Maolida and Martin Boyle providing service, he looked like a player reborn. And clearly enjoyed ending his scoring drought.

A laughing Vente admitted: “It’s been a while, everybody knows it, including me. So it was a good feeling. I felt good, playing more as the higher striker, so it felt good. I got more chances, so it was a good day for me.

“I am a guy that always works hard, I accept the choice of the trainer - and the next time you get in you have to perform well and do your thing. Saturday was a good opportunity to play as a real striker, to get in the areas you want to be in. Unfortunately the offside goal was not given, but I am getting in those positions now.”

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Expanding on the theme of players being deployed in areas where they’ll carry the biggest threat, Vente added: “Boyely is back too on the right side and I think he is really dangerous there, that’s huge for us. I’ve played my whole life as a higher striker. In the first half of the season Boyley had to play as the striker, we had some injuries. I understand it, as a player you want to play in the positions you are most comfortable. I am happy that Saturday was a day I can show myself in the position I want to play in.”

Hibs currently trail their city rivals by a remarkable 21 points, the gulf between third and seventh in the Scottish Premiership telling you plenty about how the season has played out on opposite sides of Edinburgh. If Wednesday night’s trip to Gorgie isn’t going to change much in the big picture, nobody would be daft enough to declare it a meaningless fixture.

“I’ve read some things about the gaps,” said Vente, grinning just a little. “At the end the gap is big - but we have to look at every game, game on game and game, and not look how big the gap is. At the end we will see.

“It’s the biggest game for us, everybody knows how big the game is, the fans, us as a team - especially for us now in the position we’re in. We need to win so we have to be sharp, be confident and to go for it 100 per cent.

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“The derby is always a game on its own - a different game. It was a crazy game last time. We have to trust in our own ability.”

Victory over Dundee at least put Hibs within touching distance of the top six, with the visitors – currently in that prized spot, with the split looming – now just two points clear. Saturday felt like a decent start, if nothing more, to a new chapter for Monty’s men.

“That win was big for us,” said Vente. “We had not been in a good way with the last couple of games, unlucky sometimes. I think this win is huge, good for us to get confidence back then go on to the next game.



“If you look at the game, I think we were better on the ball. We had the confidence to score another goal and you need the right time and right moment. It was a great action from Myziane and a great goal.

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“When you are 1-0 up, I think we should have scored more goals to make it easy for ourselves.  You know they will come and press and put balls in. They scored - but we showed good character to score the winner.”

Reluctant to give away any secrets to the stutter-step technique he used when sending veteran goalie Trevor Carson the wrong way from the penalty spot, Vente said: “If I’m on pens I have confidence, I have my own thing. I won’t say it! I feel comfortable.

“The offside goal was shxx. Can I say that? Sorry, it was unlucky. I’m getting in those areas where I want to be. I feel more comfortable now.”

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