Joe Newell on the 'different qualities' that make Hibs front men tick
Joe Newell will undoubtedly feature high on many people’s list for Hibs’ player of the year but the midfielder knows that the team would not be on the cusp of one of their best league returns and another shot at cup glory were it not for the goalmouth accuracy of their deadly front men.
Kevin Nisbet, Martin Boyle and Christian Doidge have all weighed in heavily at different times this season but have proved an indomitable force in the last half a dozen matches, monopolising the scoresheet, and netting 13 goals between them in that run of vitally important fixtures.
That haul takes their overall tally to 43 for the season with Nisbet contributing 17 goals and seven assists in all competitions, Boyle conjuring up 15 goals and 11 assists and Doidge up to 11 and four.
The Englishman has added one goal and five assists to the collective haul but his value is in ensuring the strikers get the supply they need, and that good work has not gone to waste as the Easter Road outfit look to see out the season on a high.
“They are all in good form at the minute and when they are in form like that you just have to keep giving them the ball and let them get at it,” said the 28-year-old after the trio devastated Livingston to ease Hibs ever closer to their goal of a top-three finish.
“They are having a brilliant season, and all three bring different qualities. Obviously, there’s Boyley’s pace, Nissy can do a bit of everything and his link up play is very good, and Doidgey is the same, he can do a bit of everything but also has the aerial threat, and that means we can mix up our approach. We are very lucky to have them when they are on song and in the first half especially you could see how threatening they are.”
Livingston had no answer to their movement, pace, collective understanding and finishing in an opening 25 minutes that provided the platform for victory.
And the latest wave of attacking prowess has been timely as the season reaches an enticing climax.
“Definitely. It is good timing for us because things are at a crucial stage," added Newell. "It is just a case of trying to give them the ball as much as possible and trying to play in a way that means they are in good positions when they get the ball.”
Hibs turn to Scottish Cup quarter-final duties against Motherwell at Easter Road on Saturday, happy that the surface proved far more conducive to their passing gameplan on Wednesday.
“It could be a very big few weeks for us," stated the midfielder. "Third [place in the league] and winning the Scottish Cup is the plan and after all the hard work, the good results and the effort we have put in, it would be a shame if we don’t finish it how we want to. No-one is easing off.
"It's not even the European football aspect of it. We want to be the third best team in the country and I think we have shown that for the majority of the season.
"It's a big thing for us and we won't let up until we have got it."