Michael Weir: Why Hibs will need to change strategy despite a good performance

Jack Ross may have to shake up his strategy to get the three points at a notoriously hard place to go, writes Michael Weir

By Michael Weir
Wednesday, 5th August 2020, 7:30 am
Darren McGregor gets to grips with Livingston captain Marvin Bartley during the last trip to West Lothian
Darren McGregor gets to grips with Livingston captain Marvin Bartley during the last trip to West Lothian

I thought Hibs did well to see off Kilmarnock on Saturday, considering the circumstances.

I think the most important thing for any club in the first game of the season, especially after what we've been through, is to get the three points by any means necessary.

There's no point in playing well if you don't get the three points at the end of the day, and that was the most important part.

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Hibs will be happy to have got off to a good start and I thought they deserved it, although Kilmarnock will feel that they could have perhaps got something in the second half.

I felt Hibs dropped off a bit in the second period but I think that's understandable - I suspect there are a lot of players who are still not quite at match fitness levels because of the unusual pre-season.

On top of that, every player's different; some take four or five games to get going, others just hit the ground running from the moment they step on the pitch so from that aspect, they did well to take the three points.

It was vital to get that first win on the board, and they've done that.

The main thing Hibs have to change from last season is avoiding losing late goals. I did feel when they dropped off in the second half they invited pressure and they can't keep doing that because eventually they'll get punished in games against better sides.

I always felt there was a threat going forward, and even though Hibs won the game it seemed like they had another goal in them.

Alex Gogic looks like a good acquisition, he was very strong in midfield which is what the side’s been missing, and I thought Kevin Nisbet did well for us too in attack.

Martin Boyle was clearly the standout but all things considered I thought the three new signings did well, as did young Josh Doig.

Like the rest of the team, they have not played for a while but they'll be more than happy with their performances.

Three points was the key and the performance levels were generally good, even if they did run out of gas a bit later in the game.

Hibs are away to Livingston next week, and I've always said that there are certain games where you have to play a specific style of football.

When Hibs go to venues like Almondvale, the main thing is finding a way to win. Pretty football is nice to watch but Livingston is a tough trip.

Celtic have gone there and struggled, Rangers went there and struggled, and Hearts have struggled there as well.

There are certain stadiums where you have to adapt and play a particular way to have any hope of winning.

Even if winning means the manager having to play a different style in order to get the points on the board, then that's what Hibs will have to do.

Livingston are masters at playing well on that surface and they had so much joy playing teams at home last season.

Hibs just have to find a way to win and if that means changing the system and picking a different type of player, then so be it.

These are the games that define you as a team. It was exactly the same when I was playing.

There were certain arenas where we just had to go and play a different style in order to get a result, and that’s not changed.

Hopefully Hibs can find a strategy that suits the surface and the opponent in order to get the three points.