Talking point: Plenty to learn as Hibs prepare for busy transfer window

Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Ibrox has killed any hope Hibs had of qualifying for Europe for the second consecutive season.

Sunday, 5th May 2019, 7:23 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th May 2019, 7:35 pm
Ryan Gauld made his first start under Paul Heckingbottom.

In terms of the Ladbrokes Premiership, the only thing now up for grabs is to finish above rivals Hearts. And given the Tynecastle side's recent form, not to mention their remaining two games coming at Aberdeen and Celtic, Hibs may be able to do that even if they fail to pick up another point.

However, that's not to say there isn't anything to play for over the next two weeks. Paul Heckingbottom has thoroughly impressed since taking over from Neil Lennon, but the summer will present a huge test of his managerial tenure as he looks to shape the side in his own image.

Heckingbottom will be looking closely at which areas of the team he wants to strengthen most, and will have been for weeks. But even if a player has performed reasonably well over the course of an entire season, it just takes one performance to put a lingering doubt in the manager's mind as to whether there are better options out there in the transfer market.

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Can Florian Kamberi, for example, convince his boss that he's the best option as the leading striker next season, or will he continue in the role he is now? Where he's playing back-up to McNulty as the lone striker and operating from an unusual role on the left flank.

Is Paul Hanlon, Darren McGregor and the returning Ryan Porteous a strong enough central defensive corps, or do reinforcements need brought in? What about the midfield? Can Mark Milligan and Stevie Mallan make up two-thirds of a trio alongside Scott Allan, who will sign on a free from Celtic in the summer, or do they need a bit more industry?

There's also the loan players. Should Hibs try to retain them or concede their loss and move on to other targets? Ryan Gauld and Thomas Agyepong have not been able to impress at Hibs due to injury problems, but with neither likely to make the breakthrough at their respective clubs, Heckingbottom could inquire as to whether it would be possible to take them again next season if they give him a reason to do so in the trip away to Kilmarnock or in the final home match against Aberdeen.

Getting Marc McNulty or Stephane Omeonga back for another season would appear to be a much harder task. It seemed certain a couple of weeks ago that Hibs would look to pull out all the stops in order to keep them, much like Jamie Maclaren last summer. However, another couple of performances from the pair like what they showed at Ibrox and the club may not feel it is worth the hassle.

For the supporters, there won't be a whole lot to sink their teeth into over the remaining two fixtures. For Heckingbottom, though, these games will be just as valuable as any other he's managed since taking over the club as he looks to build a stronger Hibs for next season.