Considering where we were a few months ago, the bottom six was looking likely because we were a good few points away from where we needed to be and were really struggling for form. But fair play to the team – they’ve come good and got themselves on a good wee unbeaten run. From where we were, we couldn’t have asked for any more from Paul Heckingbottom.
He’s really banished all the gloom that was hanging over the club a few months ago and has taken us to a position where we can look ahead with optimism again. After getting into the top six, it’s now a case of trying to kick on and keep improving.
It showed against Kilmarnock that we’re still lacking in certain areas, particularly in terms of our creativity, but the main thing is that the new manager has tightened us up and made us more organised. I thought we looked a bit disjointed earlier in the season and lacked cohesion as a unit but that’s not the case at the moment. There’s a really strong shape about us and even when the manager changes his tactics and moves players into different positions, everybody seems to know exactly what they’re being asked to do. We’ve become a very difficult side to play against, and hopefully we only keep improving once the manager is able to make the changes over the summer that he feels we need to become a better team.
In the short term, Paul is about to face his biggest test yet as Hibs manager because a derby at Tynecastle is never easy. It doesn’t matter what level of form they’re in, Hearts are always dangerous in this fixture. They’ll be right up for it and will probably have big Uche Ikpeazu back. We’re in good shape to go over there and give a good account of ourselves but it will take a really big effort to come away with a victory. The manager will learn a lot about his players – and the intensity of the Edinburgh derby – on Saturday. It will be another huge step in the right direction if he can get a victory that would take us above Hearts.