Hibs striker on goal droughts, scoring streaks and Celtic challenge

Vente hopes he's hit a new rich vein of form after breaking deadlock
Hibs' Dylan Vente celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 against Aberdeen.Hibs' Dylan Vente celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 against Aberdeen.
Hibs' Dylan Vente celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 against Aberdeen.

As the relief, joy and release of pent-up frustration swept around Easter Road, Dylan Vente took a moment to pause and savour the sensation. Like all good strikers, however, he was already thinking about the next big moment. And hoping that his first goal in ten games comes to represent the start of a stunning scoring sequence, rather than a blip in a continued barren spell.

The Hibs No. 9 didn’t have a great deal to do in breaking the deadlock against Aberdeen on Sunday. Just stay onside – a more close-run call than he realised at first – and bury the unselfish pass from Martin Boyle, who had left the entire Aberdeen back three trailing in pursuit of a ball over the top by David Marshall.

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After nine games without a goal and, truth be told, barely a chance to hit the net, the Dutchman made no mistake. And was promptly given a rousing ovation by a Hibs support who, during that scoring drought, never seemed to lose appreciation for his efforts – or faith in his ability.

Vente, who scored in each of Nick Montgomery’s first three games as Hibs boss, will feel that he’s found his touch again. And, while Celtic represent the most daunting of challenges on home soil, he’s definitely looking to carry that feelgood factor into Wednesday night’s game in Glasgow.

“Sometimes as a striker, you score one goal and then they come in every game,” said the 24-year-old. “I hope that will happen. We go with a good feeling now to the Celtic match.

"But yeah, finally, after nine games, right? It was a nice feeling. I'm very happy with the goal and especially the win.”

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Asked whether he thought Boyle was going to shoot instead of passing, or whether he considered the possibility that he’d wandered into an offside position, a grinning Vente said: "Offside? No, because he is quicker than me, so it is not possible! I don't know how close it was. Very close? It was a good run then …

"At the moment I was thinking 'pass the ball' so I'm happy that he gave it to me. It was the perfect ball and an easy goal.”

Despite obviously feeling frustrated during his run of games without a goal, Vente consoled himself with the knowledge – reinforced regularly by manager Montgomery – that he was still contributing plenty to the team. If he wasn’t scoring, he was certainly creating goals, whether or not he was officially credited with an assist.

"It's an important goal for me - but I wasn't playing badly,” he said, adding: “It wasn't that I was missing good chances. I knew that the ball would come in the next few games.

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“I now play more as a No 10, under the striker, so I'm not in as many positions. The last three games I had assists and now I have the goal so that's how I keep positive. Also the manager played a big role. He was keeping confidence in me. That's been good.”

Hibs rode their luck at times against Aberdeen, with veteran goalkeeper David Marshall making a string of important saves, including turning aside a Bojan Miovski penalty. For the first time since February, the Easter Road club could celebrate three league wins in a row.

Having also held the league leaders and reigning champions to a goalless draw in Leith back in October, they’ll hardly travel to Celtic Park entirely bereft of hope. Not now that they appear to have restored some upward momentum, with Sunday’s win lifting them to fifth in the table.

Vente said: "Mentally it is good for us. We all know that against we were a bit lucky, Marsh had some great saves. For us it is good we win three in a row. We have to keep the positivity.

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"Marsh is a good goalkeeper, it is hard to score against him even in training. Sometimes me, sometimes him.

"It will be a tough game against Celtic away. We have to be ready and give 100 per cent and then we will see what happens. At home we played well against them.

“They had some chances, but we had our moments as well. Hopefully we can find a way to get some points. If Marsh plays like that, it’ll be good for us!”

Back where it all began for Marshall, you wouldn’t bet against another stand-out performance. Hibs will probably need the former Scotland No. 1 to spend the night making saves and breaking hearts. Just as they could do with their centre forward turning his mini revival into something more enduring.