Talking point: Why Hibs are in good fettle ahead of Saturday’s derby

Hibs have plenty to be upbeat about ahead of Saturdays derby.
Hibs have plenty to be upbeat about ahead of Saturdays derby.
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In addition to securing a well-deserved point for his team, Darren McGregor’s late goal ensured Hibs can go into Saturday’s year-ending Edinburgh derby in good fettle.

December looked set to be a bleak month for Hibs when they kicked it off with a 3-0 defeat at Kilmarnock and then followed up that abject display with a 2-2 draw at home to struggling St Mirren. Fast forward a few weeks and Hibs have swiftly put together a six-game unbeaten run which incorporates three games against the Old Firm.

Although Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Livingston served to have a deflating pre-Christmas effect on supporters, the team that started that match had a fringe feel to it as several regular starters were rested.

The side that kicked off at Ibrox had a far more familiar look to it, with seven of the ten outfield players regulars during the team’s impressive run in the second half of last season. It showed in the way they played, particularly in the second half, as they enjoyed the majority of the possession at a venue where many had expected them to be defeated comfortably.

Although they are still not winning enough matches to be overly confident about winning the derby - this six-game undefeated sequence includes only two victories - the fact they were able to come and peg a strong Rangers side back for long periods on their own pitch shows Hibs, despite their unflattering league position, still have plenty about them.

With Adam Bogdan in assured form between the sticks and Paul Hanlon, Efe Ambrose and Darren McGregor reunited to impressive effect in central defence, Hibs are in decent shape. And, despite being without Australian trio Martin Boyle, Mark Milligan and Jamie Maclaren due to Asian Cup duties, the Easter Road side – who haven’t lost a derby at home for almost five years – will take some beating on Saturday evening.