How have Hibs fared every season since the split was introduced after stalwart makes performance claim
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“In the times we’ve been in the top six, I don’t think we’ve done that well. We need to finish as high as we can,” the 35-year-old said. So how have Hibs performed when they have finished in the top half, since the split was introduced in 2000/01?
Hibs have finished in the top half ten times since the split was introduced, including the current season, and nine times in the bottom six including the curtailed Covid-19 campaign where the season wasn’t completed and there was no split, with placings decided on a points-per-game basis.
Of their 45 top-six matches so far, Hibs have won just ten – around 22 per cent of their top-six fixtures
2000/01 – Finished third; DWLDL (5pts)
Under Alex McLeish Hibs lost just six games before the inaugural split, although half of them came in three consecutive away games at Aberdeen, Dunfermline, and St Johnstone between March 13 and April 1. In terms of post-split fixtures, Hibs drew 1-1 with Kilmarnock at Easter Road, won 2-0 against Dundee at Dens Park, lost 5-2 at home to Celtic, recorded a goalless home draw with Hearts, and lost 4-0 to Rangers at Ibrox on the final day. They still finished 12 points clear of Killie and qualified for the first round of the UEFA Cup.
Hibs recorded a tenth-place finish in 2001/02, followed by a seventh-place finish the following year. They finished eighth in 2003/04 but returned to the top six in the following season.
2004/05 – Finished third; DWDLL (5pts)
Tony Mowbray replaced Bobby Williamson as manager and led the side to third and the UEFA Cup as well as the last four of the Scottish Cup and quarter-finals of the League Cup, but they were beaten by Dundee United in both competitions. The final day saw a 1-0 home defeat by Rangers but results elsewhere on ‘Helicopter Sunday’ meant the Gers won the title from under Celtic’s noses and Hibs pipped Aberdeen to Europe on goal difference.
2005/06 – Finished fourth; DWLLL (4pts)
Mowbray repeated the cup runs but Hibs lost to Hearts in the Scottish Cup semis, and Dunfermline put them out of the League Cup. Hibs won 17 of their 38 matches but lost 16, and only just beat Kilmarnock and Aberdeen to fourth, drawing with Celtic and defeating Hearts in the post-split fixtures but then losing to the Dons, Rangers, and Killie.
2006/07 – Finished sixth; DDLLW (5pts)
Mowbray left in October with John Collins picked as his successor. The former Hibs midfielder led the team to League Cup glory, and the side clinched a top-six berth with three games to spare but didn’t win a league game between March 10 and May 20 when they beat a second-string Celtic side on the final day of the season.
2007/08 – Finished sixth; DLDLL (2pts)
Another managerial change (Collins out, Mixu Paatelainen in) and another top-six finish but poor post-split results. Hibs scored just twice in the final five games, drawing a blank in a draw with Rangers and back-to-back 2-0 defeats by Celtic and Motherwell.
2008/09 – Finished sixth; LWDDL (5pts)
An underwhelming season for Hibs in which they just squeezed into the top six by a point ahead of Motherwell. Lost to Dundee United and Aberdeen at the start and end of the post-split games, but beat Hearts against the odds and held Rangers and Celtic to draws at Easter Road. Paatelainen stepped down at the end of the campaign.
2009/10 – Finished fourth; LLLDW (4pts)
Hibs qualified for the Europa League under John Hughes but lost nearly as many games as they won throughout the season, including a 5-1 defeat at St Johnstone and a 4-1 loss at Hamilton. The post-split games included the now infamous 6-6 draw with Motherwell, with Hibs throwing away a 4-1 lead and then a 6-2 advantage.
Between 2010/11 and 2013/14, Hibs finished tenth, eleventh, seventh, and eleventh again, losing the relegation play-off to Hamilton Accies and spending three years in the Championship. On their return to the top flight they recorded their highest finish since 2009/10.
2017/18 – Finished fourth; WWDLD (8pts)
The first season back in the top flight after Neil Lennon led the side to the Championship title. Hibs were in the mix for second and pushed Rangers until the penultimate round of fixtures in the race for third but a 2-1 derby defeat hampered Hibs’ efforts, and they finished the post-split fixtures with a bonkers 5-5 draw with the Ibrox side.
2018/19 – Finished fifth; DDLLL (2pts)
Lennon left the club in January with Paul Heckingbottom appointed his successor, who led the club on a ten-game unbeaten run and the top six but any hopes of a late push for Europe were dashed by a winless post-split run of games where they drew with Celtic and Hearts but then lost to Rangers, Kilmarnock and Aberdeen. The following campaign Hibs sat sixth when the season was curtailed due to the Covid-19 pandemic but with no split played, on a points-per-game basis they were recorded as finishing seventh instead.
2020/21 – Finished third; LWLWD (7pts)
In his first full season in charge Jack Ross led the side to a first third-place finish since the 2004/05 season with the penultimate match a 1-0 win at Pittodrie – the first time Hibs had managed 11 away wins during a top-flight campaign. They were knocked out of both cups by double-winners St Johnstone, falling at the semi-final stage of the League Cup, and losing the final of the Scottish Cup.
Last season Hibs finished eighth, with interim boss David Gray winning two and drawing one of Hibs’ five post-split fixtures.