Three things we learned from Kilmarnock 0 - 0 Hibs (Hibs win 5-4 on penalties)

Three Hibs-related observations from the Betfred Cup quarter-final victory over Kilmarnock.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 11:00 pm
The jubilation is etched on the Hibs players' faces after seeing off Kilmarnock. Picture: SNS

Boss doesn’t mince his words

Paul Heckingbottom promised to reshuffle his pack ahead of the trip to Rugby Park and that is exactly what he did, relegating poster boy Scott Allan and Florian Kamberi to the subs’ bench. Both could have little grievances over being dropped following underwhelming performances in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Hearts. That handed the opportunity to Glenn Middleton and Christian Doidge but neither really shone to any great effect. Starting berths are there for the taking given the below-par start to the season. However, the players aren’t grasping their opportunity afforded to them at this moment in time.

James impressive

The right full-back position has been Heckingbottom’s side’s Achilles heel this season. Tom James was given the nod against St Mirren in the Premiership opener last month, only to last 45 minutes following a cynical foul from Saints’ Ilkay Durmus. Club captain David Gray was then restored to the lineup following an injury but suffered knee ligament damage against St Johnstone. Steven Whittaker has also struggled for fitness, while Jason Naismith has only played a handful of games since joining the club. James looked impressive on his return to the starting XI where he more than handled whatever Killie threw at him down the right side.

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Hibs have bottle

The Easter Road men have come in for some scathing criticism from all quarters this season. In light of the deflating derby defeat to Hearts, they could have quite easily folded and crashed out of the cup without as much as a whimper. However, the players regrouped, stood tall and more than competed against Killie over 120 minutes. And, having seen the tie go to penalties, and despite Oli Shaw the first to spur his chance from 12 yards, Hibs rallied to see the job through where they can now look forward to a semi final against current holders Celtic at Hampden.