After a few shaky performances over the past month or so, Saturday’s victory over St Mirren was a lot more like it from Hibs. I didn’t think we ever looked in any danger.
The pressure was on after falling five points adrift of Rangers, but we responded really well to drawing our previous game and ran out convincing winners. We had the added bonus of Falkirk slipping up and allowing us to go ahead of them again, and hopefully we get another result going our way tonight when Rangers head to Morton. We need at least one favour from another team if we are to win the title, and Cappielow is one of the trickier places Rangers will have to go, so fingers crossed. All we can do is try to keep the pressure on them, and we seem in good shape to do that because the squad looks stronger than ever with Anthony Stokes and Kevin Thomson now on board. It’s clear that Stokes is short of fitness, so he is only going to get better as he gets more game time, but even in glimpses on Saturday he looked a level above everyone else.
Thomson will bring some much-needed experience. With Adam Eckersley leaving, we were a bit short of older heads, so I think it’s a shrewd move to get someone like Kevin in. Even if he doesn’t play a lot, his presence around the squad will be important. The likes of Liam Henderson, John McGinn and Jason Cummings are still young, so any help and advice they can get from a seasoned pro like Thomson, who has played in plenty big games at a good level, is only going to benefit them, especially with so many high-pressure matches coming up.
This Saturday’s League Cup semi-final against St Johnstone certainly falls into that category, and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the players raised their game on Saturday because they’ll be desperate to play at Tynecastle. We’ll need to be at our best, but we’ve got every chance of beating Saints and reaching the final. We’ve proved plenty times over the past two seasons that, on one-off occasions, we’ve got a group of players capable of beating most teams in the country. We’ll have the majority of the stadium as well – it’s going to be a great day out.