Michael Weir: Why Christian Doidge is not the only one to blame for Hibs goal drought
There has been a lot of talk about Christian Doidge this week after he failed to score again at the weekend but although it looks bad, the statistics should not be taken out of context.
Thirteen games without a goal for Doidge and only one goal in 11 appearances for Kevin Nisbet doesn’t look great but it doesn’t tell all of the story.
Most strikers have a run of games without goals at some point in the season but it is not always because their form has dipped. Sometimes it’s because their team-mates aren’t giving them quality service.
The team have been relying on Martin Boyle over the last four or five weeks and that is a concern because you can’t keep relying on just one player. Last season that was Doidge and then earlier this season it was Nisbet. But, lately it isn’t just the main strikers who have been struggling to score.
Although the defenders have been contributing recently, with Josh Doig scoring against Hamilton, and Ryan Porteous and Darren McGregor helping out in the games against St Mirren and Dundee United, over the course of the season there haven’t been enough goals coming from the midfield.
It’s not just that they’re not scoring, they haven’t been creating enough chances for the guys up front, like Doidge and even Nisbet and that has been frustrating for them as well as the people watching the games.
They started the season very well but then the goalscoring opportunities dried up and, in recent weeks, the manager has chosen to break up that partnership and I think that has cost Hibs.
In games like Saturday, they were all far too ponderous and slow with the passing, giving Motherwell time to press them and get men back behind the ball and sort their shape and I would still like to see them move the ball quicker and I still think we need more width.
That’s the problem with moving players about and playing Boyle through the middle. Chris Cadden is a good player but he doesn’t have Boyle’s pace to get down the wing and get the crosses in and when Josh Doig was also missing last week, they missed that energy and drive and pace down that wing as well. There weren’t the same number or quality of crosses coming into the area and that is what Doidge relies on. His strength is in getting on the end of crosses and if he is forced to go too deep then that doesn’t work.
Without enough decent service, strikers get frustrated and instead of staying up, they come looking for the ball. That has been happening with Doidge and Nisbet. They have been dropping deeper to get on the ball but that means there is no-one in the box to get on the end of the passes or any crosses.
I look at it and I think they need more pace and more of a cutting edge and if I had my way I would play with wingers instead of relying on full-backs pushing on.
As a team they have been too passive in the last couple of weeks. Playing at home, they should have been taking the initiative but that is up to the whole team.