'Unselfish' Christian Doidge finally finds a way through as Hibs make more gains
Christian Doidge’s 41st minute equaliser didn’t just edge the team closer to their targeted third-place finish, it ended the Welshman’s goal drought.
His first goal in 16 games, it allowed Hibs to stretch their lead over Aberdeen, and, thanks to the vastly superior goal difference, will require the Pittodrie side to register at least three wins more than the Leith side in the final five games.
The fact the winner came from Doidge’s boot made it all the sweeter given his overall contribution to the cause.
“I’m delighted for him,” said manager Jack Ross. “I was actually chatting to him in the build up to the game and that was one of the things we spoke about. It genuinely does not bother me that he’s been on this run without scoring because his play has been really good and he helps the team so much. But I’m pleased for him because he deserves it and it was an important goal for us as well.
“We weren’t playing brilliantly at that stage and for him to score so quickly after we conceded a poor goal, I’m pleased for him personally.
"It didn't concern me one bit that he wasn't scoring and he believes me when I say that. It might be unusual for a manager to say that but his overall contribution is so good.
"He is so important, he's so unselfish and if you look at his record over the years - he scores goals, he’s just a bit streaky at times so maybe this will set him off on a wee streak until the end of the season.”
Top scorer last season after a slow start, that was his eighth goal of the current campaign but he had been drawing a blank since mid-December.
But, the roar from the sidelines and the way he was mobbed on the pitch, showed how much others value him.
“We’re a close group,” said Ross, “and we have a common ambition, which helps and they recognise the job Christian does for the team. They’re really pleased for him.
“I felt leading up to this game that several individual players were looking at their best and Christian was one of them. He has looked really sharp in training, bright and lively.”