Liam Henderson today assured worried Hibs fans ahead of tomorrow’s Scottish Cup replay with Capital rivals Hearts that Saturday’s lacklustre display against Livingston was no more than a “one off.”
The Easter Road club blew the chance to trim Rangers’ eight-point lead at the top of the Championship table after the Ibrox club were held by basement outfit Alloa Athletic before kick-off at the Tony Macaroni Arena. But Hibs, starting later at 5.15pm, could manage no better than a goalless draw.
While boss Alan Stubbs described his side’s performance as one of the most disappointing he’s seen in quite some time, midfield youngster Henderson insisted it should be considered no more than “a bad day at the office”.
The on-loan Celtic player said: “It was one of those days where our football didn’t quite click. Look at the best teams in the world ... they can have days like this when it’s hard to break the other team down.
“Livingston made it hard for us. They were tight, well-organised, but at Hibs we want to win every game, so obviously we are bitterly disappointed. We’ll analyse it and see what we can do better.”
Henderson was adamant Stubbs’ players hadn’t been distracted by the Cup replay, saying: “I don’t think that at all. We treated Livingston with respect, we did exactly the same things in preparing for the match as we would as if we were playing Hearts.
“So I don’t think it was anything to do with that. We’ve been on a great run. This was just one of those days.”
And Henderson was equally insistent that challenging on three fronts wasn’t beginning to take its toll, every match Hibs play at present bringing a pressure and intensity.
Henderson said: “No, we take every game as it comes. We try to play nice football, I think we did that in spells but the goals did not come. On another day we would have won, but Livingston defended really well. We could have done better, but we were just a bit unfortunate.”
It was only the second time this season Hibs have failed to score, leading Henderson to say: “It was one of these things. The strikers and midfielders have to take responsibility for not putting the ball into the net and not creating more chances.
“But it was just an off day.”
And for any Hearts fans buoyed by this below-par display, Henderson said: “These things happen when you are in every competition, fighting. We were in yesterday getting our heads down and working hard looking forward to tomorrow. It’s a derby and it’s going to be a fiesty game.”