Simon Murray is delighted to have scored seven goals in his first four games for Hibs – but the striker admitted he’s kicking himself for the one that got away.
After scoring a hat-trick a few days earlier against Arbroath, he had the chance to write himself into the Easter Road club’s history books by becoming the first player to do so in consecutive matches in almost 50 years.
Having already scored two second-half goals against Alloa Athletic on Saturday, Murray had the opportunity to claim a third when put through by team-mate Martin Boyle, only to fire a shot high over the bar.
Had it gone in, he would have matched Joe McBride’s record set in November 1968 when he scored all three goals in Hibs’ 3-1 Inter-Cities Fair Cup victory over Lokomotiv Leipzig at Easter Road and then went one better in hitting four three days later as the Edinburgh club thumped Morton 5-1.
“I was disappointed,” admitted Murray, “but to be fair I’d taken a bad knock on my shin five minutes before and I was struggling. I just lashed at it, which wasn’t the best. It would have been good to have become the first Hibs player to score back-to-back hat-tricks since the 1960s, but nevertheless I got two so I am happy.”
Murray’s move from Dundee United to Edinburgh may have been questioned by some Hibs fans, but he’s answered his sceptics in style with the goals which helped the Capital club to the top of Group D in the Betfred Cup and into the knockout stages.
He said: “Seven goals is decent. I’ve got off to a flier. I’ve been working hard and it is good to get some early goals. I’ve got almost two goals a game so I am delighted. As a striker, to get a goal a game is an unbelievable tally if you can get that through the season but I’m off to a good start.”
Murray’s record so far may be impressive, but Hibs head coach Neil Lennon believes there’s much more to come from a player who has already struck up a good partnership with the pacy Martin Boyle, who had a hand in all three goals at the Indodrill Stadium, setting up Fraser Murray’s first-half opener and then both of Simon’s strikes, a tap-in at the back post and a towering header which went in off the woodwork.
Lennon said: “He’s scoring goals, but there’s still a lot of work in Simon in terms of his all-round play. But he owes a lot to Boyle who is playing fantastically well. He has taken his game to another level. He was involved in all the goals and they are a decent combination at the minute.”