I was shocked at the scoreline on Saturday but I wasn’t surprised Hibs lost. After putting so much into the games against Celtic and Rangers, I had a concern about whether we would have enough left in the tank to rouse ourselves for a tough trip to Pittodrie.
We looked so far off the pace against an Aberdeen side who were right on it, and I would put that down to fatigue more than anything. Not many teams will have to play the top three in the league in the space of six days, and I think the exertions of the first two took their toll.
The manager and players will be hurting after such a heavy defeat, but they have shown numerous times that Saturday’s performance is not a reflection of how they generally apply themselves, which leads me to conclude that tiredness was the main issue.
There’s been a lot of talk about us being the second-best team in the country recently, but I always felt that sort of talk was a bit premature. On our day, we can compete with any side in the country, but winning games consistently at the top level is another matter altogether. This season, for me, is about re-establishing ourselves in the league – not necessarily finishing above everyone bar Celtic.
Although we have had a strong campaign so far and been round about second place for much of it, the reality is that Aberdeen have finished second for the past three seasons and we have just come up from the Championship. It was always going to take a monumental effort for us to finish above them, and Saturday served as a bit of a reminder that, for all the impressive progress we’ve made over the last few years, we’re not at the level we want to be at just yet.
I’m sure we’ll get there eventually because we’re operating really well as a club, but we shouldn’t be putting pressure on ourselves to get to the top of the mountain before we’re ready. For all that Saturday was disappointing, we shouldn’t get too downhearted because we have had a good season so far. Recent history suggests Saturday’s defeat will prove to be a one-off and we’ll still go on and have a good first season back in the top flight.