Hibs talking point: Stephane Omeonga is playing his way into the starting XI

Could Stephane Omeonga be playing himself into the starting line-up? Picture: SNS Group
Could Stephane Omeonga be playing himself into the starting line-up? Picture: SNS Group
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He may have only been on the pitch for 28 minutes, but that was more than enough time for Stephane Omeonga to make a huge impact at McDiarmid Park.

The on-loan Genoa midfielder was the creative spark that Hibs had been crying out for following a largely underwhelming first 45 minutes in Perth.

With the Easter Road side down to ten men after the dismissal of Vykintas Slivka, and Marvin Bartley brought on to provide his combative qualities to ensure Hibs took home at least a point, it was left to the Belgian to steer the ship going forward. And boy did he deliver.

His reverse pass that cut open the Saints rearguard to pick out McNulty, who had timed his run to perfection before lifting the ball over the advanced Cammy Bell to put the Hibees 2-1 ahead, was a sublime piece of skill and vision.

McNulty himself said afterwards that the assist for his second goal wouldn’t have looked out of place in the English Premier League.

Omeonga is adjusting to the fast-paced tempo of Scottish football with each game and although he has had to contend with five second-half substitute appearances - his only start coming in last month’s 1-0 defeat to Motherwell under former manager Neil Lennon - it’s only a matter of time before he forces new head coach Paul Heckingbottom’s hand.

He may only be 22, but his experience of playing in Serie A is something Hibs should maximise while they still have him on their books.

As Hibs played out a goalless draw with city rivals Hearts at Tynecastle on Hallowe’en, Omeonga was strutting his stuff in the San Siro as Genoa went down 2-1 to AC Milan.

This weekend’s mouthwatering Scottish Cup quarter-final tie against Celtic will certainly hold no fear for the youngster, whose popularity is on the rise with Hibs supporters.

He only arrived in the Capital little more than a month ago and already he’s got his own song.

A match-up against his former boss - no matter how brief it was - seems the ideal environment to hand him is second start and first at Easter Road on Saturday.