Michael Weir: Heffernan can be a big weapon for Hibs

Paul Heffernan celebrates with Scott Robertson. Picture: Greg Macvean
Paul Heffernan celebrates with Scott Robertson. Picture: Greg Macvean
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It has certainly proved a waiting game, but now we have achieved our first three points at Easter Road, we can maybe start to relax and see the confidence in our play finally begin to emerge.

Back-to-back league victories can transform any side’s season and with it being still so early into the new campaign, I hope it is now onwards and upwards from here on in. Going into the game against St Mirren on Saturday, Pat Fenlon was fully aware of the potential banana skin this match was had we not approached it with the right attitude or professionalism.

However, having his players overcome such a test will have been a big relief to the management team, as three points was what was fully expected by the home supporters. Possessing proven goalscorers can make such a difference to the overall look of a squad and with Paul Heffernan now on our books, he is just the sort of player who will convert a half-chance and certainly an important weapon to have at our disposal.

The manager’s decision to bring this kind of striker to the club appears to be fully justified. Although younger strikers will have their part to play in a long and enduring season, when it comes to remaining cool in front of the target and making the correct decision when it matters, there is just no substitute for experience.

We appear to possess such a player in Heffernan, who has the ability to reach at least double figures this season and the same can be said about his strike partner, James Collins. Once again it was a breath of fresh air to see both strikers on the scoresheet at the weekend for the second consecutive match and this bodes well for their partnership up top.

Trying to replace Leigh Griffiths was always going to prove a real obstacle, but rather than deploying just the one striker, as on so many occasions last term, the manager has opted for a pairing.

Since the disappointment of defeat in Europe almost two months ago, the players and staff at Easter Road have been subjected to a fair bit of criticism, which I am glad to say has been handled well and we have started to put together a run which is expected of a club of Hibs’ stature.

To their credit, the players have shown a resilience and that they wish to contest the positions at the top end of the league by now going five games undefeated. Of course, we would have liked more points on the board at this stage, but it would be fair to suggest the future looked bleak after suffering back-to-back defeats by Motherwell and then our city neighbours at Tynecastle – failing to score in either of those fixtures.

However, the response has been encouraging and this brings me to a little chat I once encountered with my former team-mate, Murdo McLeod. I recall him saying that if you have a good set of players who can produce on a consistent basis, then you will have every chance of delivering success. This advice, albeit simple, was passed on to Murdo by the great Jock Stein and who are we to disagree with a man of such pedigree?

Things are certainly looking a lot brighter in the Hibs camp and Pat Fenlon deserves credit for the results lately. If we can keep progressing like we have been over the past month or so, then other clubs in the Scottish Premiership may just start taking note.

Tomorrow night we have a break from league duty as we welcome lower league opposition in Stranraer to Easter Road in the League Cup, a competition close to my heart. I would like to see us progress through the rounds and give ourselves a decent shot of getting to the latter stages. The League One side haven’t started this season well and I fully expect us to go through.