Saturday’s win over Dumbarton highlighted the confidence coursing through the Hibs team at the moment because you could see they were playing with a real strut at times.
I thought it was one of our best performances of the season in a game where we had everything to lose and little to gain. These are the type of games Hibs just need to keep on winning. The big games take care of themselves but it’s games like Dumbarton at home where we have come unstuck in the past. We seem to be much better at dealing with these banana-skin games now than we were at times last season.
We saw the strength in depth again on Saturday because Paul Hanlon was out and we were able to start with Dylan McGeouch and Marvin Bartley on the bench. It’s certainly a stronger squad than we had last year and it’s going to take a real squad effort if we are to sustain a title challenge. I think the management have recognised that the squad was a bit too light last season and they’ve certainly addressed that. Having so many quality players to come in means we can keep a freshness about the team.
We’re going to need to utilise the squad over the next few weeks because we’ve got a really tough schedule coming up, with some hard Saturday games and a few midweek matches in between. Everybody’s going to need to make a contribution when required.
The Falkirk game tomorrow is a massive one as it gives us the chance to cut the deficit on Rangers for the first time this season. We need to win that one if we’re serious about challenging, but it won’t be easy because they seem to enjoy playing against us. It’s the biggest test we’ve had in the league since we went to Ibrox two months ago, and it will give us an idea of just how well we’re progressing.
The only fly in the ointment is that Rangers nicked a stoppage-time winner when it looked like they might slip up. They’re in a really good habit of grinding out results at the moment, but I’m sure they’ll hit a wee sticky patch at some point. For now, we just need to keep racking up the victories and make sure we stay close enough to them so that we can capitalise when they do slip up.