It’s only when certain situations arise that reality sets in and it is then, and only then, that the whole picture stares at you straight in the face.
Unable to take advantage over ten-man St Johnstone at Easter Road on Saturday may have just alerted Terry Butcher to the enormity of the task which he has ahead with his new club. It’s all well and good being organised and harder to break down, but when faced with the situation we found ourselves in at the weekend, you need a injection of craft and flair when going forward and Hibs’ lack of firepower was brutally exposed.
We simply must start to improve our home record and the manager is fully aware that, in doing so, would go a long way to enticing supporters back through the turnstiles at Easter Road. This, of course, provides a greater arena for the players to play their football, an atmosphere that special talents thrive off.
How Terry Butcher and his staff go about trying to recruit the type of personnel that can get fans out of their seats, create chances for others and give the opposition all sorts of problems is not for me to say, but, for a number of seasons now, we have not been converting enough opportunities to win games – especially at home, where the onus is always on us to attack. There are not a lot of efficient counter-attacking sides in the Premiership at the moment so this should enable us to take more risks in front of our home support.
Hopefully when young Alex Harris recovers from injuring his ankle in the opening game of the season, we will carry more of a threat which will inject a bit of pace into the side. Although there is still a bit more to come and it would be unfair to apply such pressure on his young shoulders, he has shown bags of ability from his spell in the starting XI during the second half of last season and would be a welcome addition back into the fold.
The thoughts of the manager regarding the players he has at his disposal will become exposed during the January transfer window and I am sure he will be looking to bring in some new additions and start to put his own imprint on the side. He has shown from managing his former clubs that playing with two wide men who can deliver crosses for the strikers is a part of the game he believes can be put to good effect and there is no better club who will appreciate such a style than ourselves.
Attracting this calibre of player may prove problematic for the scouting network at the club, but if they can secure the services of a player that possess these kinds of attributes, this is what many a Hibs supporter growing up has become accustomed to and wants to see. Being unable to break down such a stubborn St Johnstone side will have only deepened his concerns – there is no disputing that. But how he goes about fixing our inability to create and score goals is what he has been put at the helm to do.
A difficult fixture awaits us as we prepare for a trip up to Ross County on Boxing Day. We tasted our first ever success over the Staggies a couple of weeks ago in the Scottish Cup and it is the manager’s only competitive victory as of yet. With this in mind, and our opponents proving to be less than convincing themselves, I believe we have a reasonable opportunity to pick up all three points. A victory would set us up nicely for the visit of Kilmarnock on Sunday – yet another fixture we should be aiming to take home advantage of.
n My thoughts are with both families of young Hibs player David Paul and Tynecastle player Jamie Skinner who lost their lives yesterday. A tragic day for Edinburgh which we all feel.