Hibs are currently going through one of those sticky spells that every team goes through at some point.
Although it’s not enjoyable, I’m just glad it’s happening to us at a stage of the season where there’s still plenty time to recover and get back track.
Even though we have slipped to eighth place, we are still only eight points off the top so it’s not a time to be panicking or getting overly concerned. I envisaged a difficult start to the season after losing Dylan McGeouch, John McGinn and a few other key players in the summer. I wrote from the outset that I thought it would take us some time to adapt to life without McGeouch and McGinn in particular, and that’s how it’s proving. The loss of those players has definitely disrupted our progress, there’s no doubt about that. You can’t just pull players out a hat to automatically replace that level of quality. We’re in a period of transition and that takes time.
We’re clearly still struggling to click in certain areas of the team, and look like a group who are still learning how to play with each other. That will come in time and we’ll see a different Hibs team soon enough but right now we’re still trying to get the right blend. At the moment, it seems like we’re making three or four changes to our team every week, and that’s not helpful in terms of developing on-field partnerships. We’re a bit of a mish-mash of a team at the moment but once we get all our players fit and the manager is able to start putting out a more settled side, I think we’ll be a lot better.
Although results haven’t been great recently, there are positive signs. Mark Milligan has brought steadiness and experience to our team. In addition, we’ve got our two main strikers, Florian Kamberi and Jamie Maclaren, fit for the first time. They will only improve the more game-time they get together, and that in turn will make us a more dangerous team.
They’ve only started together twice this season which, on top of the players we lost in the summer and the others who have been missing through injury, goes a long way to explaining why we’re not quite firing at the moment. The partnerships that helped make us such a good team last season – Kamberi and Maclaren, McGeouch and McGinn – have disappeared to an extent. But once we get the front two playing together regularly again, and start developing other partnerships within the team, we’ll start to improve again.
We’ve also got to remember that we’ve just had a really tough run of games away to Celtic, away to Hearts and away to Aberdeen, with our only home game against a St Johnstone team who are flying. We’ve not been well beaten in any of them. In Friday’s game, for instance, the conditions were so bad that it’s hard to properly analyse the performance of either team. We didn’t do particularly badly, it was just a night when the wind made it virtually impossible for us to do what we’re good at. Even then, we still had enough chances to have come away with a point.
We’re not a million miles away but right now we just have to find a way to get a win on the board and get ourselves going again. Once we get a victory under our belts, that will get the confidence going again and hopefully we can go on another wee run.
Once we string a couple of results together, I’m certain we’ll start to see a better Hibs side but right now it’s just about finding a way to win our next game. We’ve got Dundee at home next so we’ve got to feel we’ve got a good chance of getting back on track in that one.