Urgent backup required - John Greechan's Talking Points from Aberdeen v Hibs

Some good, some bad, and some serious recurring flaws - not all related to VAR
Don't mention the VAR? Sorry. It can't be helped.Don't mention the VAR? Sorry. It can't be helped.
Don't mention the VAR? Sorry. It can't be helped.

Hauners: Scots slang (esp. but not exc. Glasgow) derived from the English “handers”, a non-specific yet urgent request for assistance in a fight or quarrel.

If neither Neil Warnock nor Nick Montgomery can expect to be particularly au fait with the above term, it might come in handy at some point over the coming days. Because, if the Aberdeen interim boss needs any back-up in his planned talks with the SFA re VAR, he need only call upon his Hibs counterpart – and long-time protegee –for support.

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Honestly? It would be nice to go a week, never mind a month, without having to pick apart another potential debacle involving a Video Assistant Referee system that continues to split opinion; those in charge think it’s brilliant, while everyone else veers somewhere between unconvinced and ready to march on Hampden with lit torches and pitchforks at the ready.

Before we get to the inevitable rammy about what does and doesn’t constitute a penalty when viewed through the lens of an indeterminate number of replays, however, there were arguably more interesting angles and details to emerge from yesterday’s thumping 2-2 draw at Pittodrie. So let’s take a look at the Talking Points:

There is no case for the defence

In keeping with the linguistic theme already set, it would be fair to suggest that the Hibs back four – in its current make-up – couldn’t keep weans out of a close. And the central defensive pairing at the heart of that thin green line is enduring a truly torrid time.

No offence is intended to either Will Fish or Nectar Triantis. But Rocky Bushiri and Paul Hanlon – both on the bench – must have spent much of yesterday’s game resisting the urge to tap Monty on the shoulder and ask: “Really, gaffer? Come on man …” 

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The problem is, of course, that neither Bushiri nor Hanlon have ever really nailed down a place when given a run at it. This Owen Bevan boy had better get fit quickly. And he’d better be an upgrade on the guys holding the jerseys at the moment.

The attack looks sharper

Myziane Maolida showed enough guile and gumption to suggest he could play a key role over the closing stretch of this season, even amid the bump-and-bustle that goes with playing as a centre forward in Scottish football. With Martin Boyle just about back to his absolute best, goals should not be a problem.

Set pieces are still a weakness

More specifically, the second phase – that follow-up delivery AFTER the first ball has been cleared – is a recurring flaw, regardless of personnel on the park. Stop the thing that’s killing you, guys. If that’s not as easy as it sounds, you’ve got a whole week before Dundee pitch up at Easter Road. Any thoughts on areas in need of work? Anyone?

Single points win no prizes

Both teams arguably needed a victory at Pittodrie yesterday. Perhaps that’s why the game grew so ill-tempered as we marched towards the 100th or so minute. Nobody was satisfied with a draw.

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Without a league win since December 9, Hibs are now five points adrift of sixth place. And ten points behind fourth-placed Kilmarnock, with only 24 points available to Monty’s men before the split; the fact that they’ve taken three from the previous 24 up for grabs does not inspire confidence.

The run-in to the break-up of Scotland’s always harmonious top flight is not, however, hugely daunting for any team who fancy themselves capable of clawing their way back into a race for European football. The derby is always tricky, while no trip to Ibrox is a source of great optimism at the moment. But County home and away, Dundee at home, Livi, St Johnstone and Motherwell? A bit of luck might be all it takes.

Which brings us back to V-A-R-Oh … no

Just get rid of it. Seriously. Speak to almost any player and they’ll tell you they don’t trust it. Managers are baffled by the process that goes into making increasingly subjective decisions. And even the truly objective calls on something like offside take far too long to reach anything like a definitive verdict.

When faith has been lost, you don’t win it back by banging ‘heretics’ around the head and demanding that they bow ever more deeply to the mighty all-seeing eye. That way lies madness. And, in the battle against sanity, Scottish football needs no ‘hauners’ from a bunch of tech bros and their swivel-eyed converts.

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