Shaun Maloney hails quality and fight as Hibs avoid Arbroath cup shock

Shaun Maloney hailed Hibs’ reaction to losing an early goal against Arbroath as the Easter Road side came from behind to record a 3-1 Scottish Cup fourth-round win at Gayfield.

Craig Wighton’s sixth-minute effort was cancelled out by Demi Mitchell’s header after 20 minutes before Kevin Nisbet's strike put Hibs in front and Chris Mueller’s late goal confirmed the top-flight club’s progression to the quarter-finals.

“I thought the performance was very good, especially after the early setback,” Maloney said.

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“It was a big test. The conditions weren’t easy, but the mentality was very good from the players. They fought, but they also played, so I’m really pleased.”

Shaun Maloney issues instructions from the touchline at ArbroathShaun Maloney issues instructions from the touchline at Arbroath
Shaun Maloney issues instructions from the touchline at Arbroath

Asked if he had learned more about his team in the cup tie Maloney insisted he learned more about his players in every game.

“I think what they showed today was a real desire not to be beaten. When you have a big setback after six minutes against a team from a division below… they showed a really strong mentality to come back.

“It wasn’t just fight. They showed some quality as well with the way we passed through them at times.

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“Arbroath are top of the league below. You have to be very wary of these games and there’s a reason it’s on TV. I understand that dynamic.

‘With the goal going in so early, the momentum they had made it a very difficult game. I’m just really pleased for the players with what they showed today.”

Maloney had praise for Nisbet, who had two goals ruled out for offside before scoring the second.

“I try and keep Kevin’s confidence as high as possible because even when he’s not scoring, his performances have been very good for me,” he explained.

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“When Kevin starts to take these chances he is going to be a very good player because the positions he gets into and the other parts of his game are very good. Hopefully that’s the first of many for him.”

The Hibs boss is eager for his side to build on the performance when Ross County come calling next weekend.

“Hopefully there is momentum now. Ross County is a very different game. They have different threats but we’ll have to show exactly the same fight and desire as we did today.”

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