Paul Heckingbottom: My Hibs learned valuable lesson in defeating St Mirren

Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom believes his players will have learned a new lesson having come up against a St Mirren side intent on frustrating them and looking to hit on the counter attack.
Paul Heckingbottom speaks to fourth offical Steven KirklandPaul Heckingbottom speaks to fourth offical Steven Kirkland
Paul Heckingbottom speaks to fourth offical Steven Kirkland

The head coach insisted it was an approach the Easter Road club hadn’t encountered since he arrived in Edinburgh in February, but he was delighted at the patience shown as Scott Allan’s strike five minutes from time claimed victory on the opening day of the new Ladbrokes Premiership season.

He said: “Last season we generally played teams above us at home and when it was teams below us we got an early goal so we never really saw that pattern in games. But when it does come if you don’t keep your patience and be calm, you can end up playing into the hands of the opposition.

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“This was the first game we had like that here while I have been here. When we played Hamilton we scored an early goal and we scored early against Motherwell. The rest of the time we were playing teams above us.”

Hibs were expected to enjoy a comfortable victory over St Mirren following the Buddies’ miserable Betfred Cup campaign which forced manager Jim Goodwood into a frantic bid to strengthen his squad, four of those who faced the Capital outfit having only signed four days earlier.

But Heckingbottom insisted he wasn’t lulled into a false sense of security, saying: “Jim is a good manager, he has a good team, well-organised and he played a different shape in every game and had made signings.

“We weren’t naive to expect anything other than a tough game. An early goal would have helped massively, but we had to be patient.”

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Now Heckingbottom is predicting an entirely different proposition when Hibs travel to face Rangers at Ibrox on Sunday. “It’s going to be a totally different type of game. But that’s the good thing about this league with different levels of teams, different set ups, different ways, different styles of play. Rarely are two games the same.

“But we’ll have to defend better than we did against St Mirren, pass the ball better and be more clinical.”