Games like Dundee at home are the ones that can decide whether you’re going to have a good season because, although everyone expects Hibs to win easily, it doesn’t always work out like that.
We’ve shown enough in recent years to prove we’re capable of competing in the big matches but, if we’re also beating the supposed lesser sides regularly and not taking our eye off the ball and slipping up in the less glamorous matches, then it’s a sign that we’ve got the consistency required to be competing at the top end of the table.
On Saturday, we went a bit flat after we scored the early goal. I actually thought we looked a bit jaded in the first half which is understandable given the number of games we’ve had in the last few weeks. Ofir Marciano’s save to stop Dundee going in front after they had equalised was a critical moment. That was one of the best saves I’ve seen at Easter Road for a long time and the goalkeeper deserves a lot of credit, particularly in light of the criticism he’s taken recently.
The second half was generally much better. We got ourselves on top and went on to dominate. The changes in personnel and formation made a difference, but there just seemed to be a bit more intensity about our play in the second half. Young Ryan Porteous played a part in that after coming on at half-time in a game where we hadn’t been playing well in the first half. He looked very composed and, although it’s early days, he looks like he’s equipped to play at this level.
With young players of that quality on the fringes, we’re a really formidable side at the moment. Defensively, we’re looking solid, our midfield is strong and we’re now getting goals from a few different players in attack, with Martin Boyle and Simon Murray chipping in to take the burden off Anthony Stokes. The fact we’ve just won four in a row and are only two points behind Aberdeen is evidence of how well we’re doing.
Although we’ve been building up confidence in recent weeks, I think the players will benefit from a weekend off because some players looked like they were struggling at times on Saturday. Hopefully everyone comes back refreshed after the break and ready to build on this promising run.