Two-GOAL hero Liam Craig today hailed the victory over Kilmarnock as the day it “all came together” for the Easter Road side.
Craig struck twice at Rugby Park as Hibs staged a second-half fightback after Barry Nicholson’s wonder goal had given Killie an interval lead to earn under-fire boss Pat Fenlon his first win of the season.
But while the Europa League mauling by Malmo and successive defeats by Motherwell and Hearts in the opening games of the new Scottish Premiership had set fans’ nerves jangling, former St Johnstone midfielder Craig insisted there had been no panic among Fenlon’s players.
He said: “In terms of training it’s been excellent, we have just not been able to bring it in to a Saturday. I think against Kilmarnock it all came together. I was obviously delighted to get the goals, but the most important thing was to get the result. If we could have put up a performance with it that would have been a bonus – but I think we got the two of them.
“We got two well-worked goals and for the majority of the game I thought we were the better team.”
Nicholson’s spectacular opener saw Hibs fall behind for the sixth game in succession, but, as in the previous week’s game when Craig and his team-mates came back to claim a point against Dundee United, Fenlon’s patched-up side – six first team regulars were missing through injury and suspension – responded after the break.
Craig said: “When you look at the dressing-room there are big characters in there and not just the boys that are playing. If we are going to be successful this year it will take the squad to play their part. Owain Tudur Jones and Tom Taiwo came in and were excellent while Lewis Stevenson has been doing a job at right back, although he is left-footed.
“It’s going to take that for us to have a good season and with the fans backing there’s no reason why we still cannot have that.”
While Fenlon praised his players’ resilience in the face of the flak directed at them in the past few weeks, Craig insisted that while stung, he and his team-mates weren’t going to buckle.
He said: “It’s difficult when players are criticised, rightly so in the most part, but some was over the top. The important thing as a group is to stick together. We have done that.
“Speaking to the boys who’ve been here, it’s a great place to be when we are winning and that’s the message we are trying to get through.
“We need to start winning and having ten or 12,000 and hopefully more at Easter Road.
“The priority for us now is to take that back to Easter Road and Ross County this Saturday and really build on it.”