There’s no doubt about it, this is a worrying time for Hibs. We were seven points clear of Dundee United at one point and now we’re two behind them.
There are still 18 games to go yet, but they’re the team with the momentum and we look like we’ve lost our way. I don’t think anybody at Hibs would have expected to be in this position at the halfway point – I certainly didn’t.
Back in the summer, and even after the first few games of the season, I genuinely thought we’d have pulled away and opened up a gap by Christmas. With the calibre of players and manager we have, we should have been capable of doing that.
Yes, we’ve had some bad luck along the way but, when you’re going for a title, there’s only so many times you can blame bad luck or missed chances. There comes a point when you simply have to find a way to win, and we haven’t been doing that regularly enough over the last three months, while United have.
The injury situation has undoubtedly taken a toll. Although I thought we’d be strong enough to cope, that doesn’t seem to be the case. We’re desperately needing the likes of John McGinn and Fraser Fyvie back. The fact United have kept on our tails has really cranked up the pressure, and we simply haven’t handled it well. The team look like they’re feeling the heat and playing without confidence, and the crowd are now getting anxious and starting to turn on them. That’s never a good combination.
It’s going to be a real test of character for the players. The only way we can get back on track is by staying strong and grinding out a couple of positive results by hook or by crook, but that won’t be easy, especially as our next couple of games are against Falkirk and United. It’s all very well wondering if United will handle the pressure of being leaders now that they’ve hit the front, but the fact remains all the pressure is still on Hibs because it’s so essential that we go up after two failed attempts.
The pressure on United is not quite so intense because most people expected them to finish in the play-off places, but they’re motoring at the moment. We, on the other hand, are desperately in need of something to kick-start us.