Marvellous Mackie, Murphy bedding in, formation change - 3 talking points from Hibs' 2-2 draw with Celtic
Making his first league start in green and white since September last year, Sean Mackie outperformed his defensive colleagues by some distance. Tasked with keeping tabs on Jeremie Frimpong, Mackie blunted the teenager’s impact and made countless interceptions, blocks, and tackles. His performance was a far cry from the raw 20-year-old who incurred a daft sending-off against Rangers 14 months ago and all the more impressive given he spent lockdown battling back from injury and only played his first full 90 minutes since December 2019 against Forfar last month. With Lewis Stevenson sidelined for the foreseeable the battle between Mackie and Josh Doig for the left-back berth will be intriguing.
Murphy bedding in
Jack Ross promised Hibs fans they were still to see the best of Jamie Murphy and the winger backed up his manager's claims with a barnstorming performance against Celtic. He showed flashes in the first half but really hit his stride in the second. He did well to react quickest after Scott Bain had saved Kevin Nisbet’s penalty and his ball for Nisbet to score the second was cute and clever. Murphy looks to be hitting top form after a strong showing against Dundee and a man-of-the-match performance against Celtic. Hibs will look for him to carry on where he left off against St Johnstone.
Yes, it was necessitated by Christian Doidge's injury. No, it didn’t produce three points. But switching to a 4-1-4-1 for the visit of Celtic so nearly worked for Hibs. It's hard to know if Jack Ross was planning to change things up before the Welshman rolled his ankle in training but the head coach may have some thinking to do ahead of Tuesday night.
The formation got the best out of Alex Gogic and strengthened the midfield with the extra body, and having Martin Boyle and Jamie Murphy on either flank supporting Kevin Nisbet allowed Hibs to attack with pace.
With the McDiarmid Park side favouring a similar set-up to Celtic, don’t be surprised to see Ross sticking with this strategy.