Kevin Nisbet has chance to make Scotland mark against Faroe Islands - and reignite Hibs form
When Kevin Nisbet opened the scoring for Hibs against Rangers at Ibrox before the international break, it marked the Scotland striker’s first club goal in over a month.
The header looked a good omen ahead of his involvement with the national team and even though he remained an unused sub in Scotland’s 3-2 victory over Israel, Nisbet could get a chance from the start against the Faroe Islands in Tórshavn on Wednesday night.
The 24-year-old has one goal from eight Scotland appearances but could well add to his tally at Tórsvøllur. Should he find the net in the Faroese capital, it could be good news for Hibs as well as Nisbet.
The striker has been overshadowed by the exploits of Martin Boyle so far this season to the extent that his four goals and two assists in 12 games – the majority coming in a lone striker role rather than the partnerships he enjoyed last season with Boyle and Christian Doidge – have almost gone under the radar.
There is a growing feeling at Easter Road that standards are being raised across the board, both on and off the pitch.
After the 2-1 defeat by Rangers, head coach Jack Ross described his side as a “good team who are very close to being a very good team”. For half an hour at Ibrox Hibs had looked the better team and held firm until the hour mark when Kemar Roofe equalised before Alfredo Morelos netted the winner 13 minutes from time.
Several players in green and white have stepped up their performances this term. Despite his red card against Rangers Ryan Porteous has looked vastly improved, Joe Newell continually catches the eye in midfield and in Matt Macey Hibs have a more than able successor to Ofir Marciano.
Nisbet is perhaps yet to hit his stride this season. Involvement with the national team during Euro 2020 and then Hibs’ early return to action in the Europa Conference League robbed him of a proper break during the summer.
Listening to the forward speak about his career, and how he is constantly aiming higher after starting all over again in the third tier thanks to a self-confessed poor attitude as he broke through at Partick Thistle in the mid-2010s, reveals a determined character unfazed by goal droughts or missed chances.
He has scored at Ibrox, Celtic Park, and against the Netherlands. He has found the net in semi-finals and come up against the crème de la crème of Europe’s top teams at Euro 2020.
Scoring against Rangers and impressing for Scotland should give his confidence an almighty boost for the resumption of domestic football, and Hibs have some tasty games coming up with trips to Aberdeen and Ross County, a home game against Celtic, and the Premier Sports Cup semi-final against Rangers.
Nisbet has a golden opportunity to catch the eye on the international stage again this week but it is imperative that he picks up where he left off in green and white if Hibs are to build on last season. He is gaining international experience all the time and that can benefit him and his club.
The striker has every attribute to help take Hibs higher in line with their rising standards. The trick is doing so on a regular basis.