Victory against Ross County would set Hibs up for festive blockbusters
Game tonight precedes four massive games
Martin Boyle has challenged Hibs to defeat Ross County tonight and ensure they are in the best fettle possible ahead of their blockbuster festive series.
This evening’s clash in Dingwall precedes a four-game run in which Jack Ross’s team face the Premiership’s other four big-city clubs – Aberdeen, Celtic, Rangers and Hearts – in quick succession.
Hibs are unbeaten in their last nine league games and have hauled themselves away from the relegation zone and up to sixth place, where they have a five-point buffer over seventh-place Livingston. With an intense run of high-profile fixtures beckoning, Boyle knows the importance of ensuring morale and momentum are maintained in the Highlands.
“We’ve got a massive game against Ross County to take care of first and then we’ll get into that busy fixture list,” said the attacker. “It will be tough against County. They’ve got a big physical team and it’s always tough going up there.
“We’ll have to be switched on at all times and defend our area, and if we get chances we’ll need to be clinical at the same time. There are a few familiar faces up there (ex-Hibs players Liam Fontaine, Ross Laidlaw, Brian Graham and Keith Watson) but we’re not going up there to be friendly, we’ll need to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in.
“We want to keep up the recent momentum. There’s a bit of a gap opened up (to seventh place) so we need to climb as much as we can. Hopefully we can get another three points and that will take us into what will hopefully be a sell-out crowd against Aberdeen on Saturday.”
With Hibs’ form improving in recent weeks and key defenders Darren McGregor and David Gray returning from injury, Boyle feels the team are well equipped to deal with the demands of their upcoming fixture list. “Yes, I believe so. We’ve got a lot of players coming back as well - Dave and Daz have started training again. There’s a lot of guys getting left out for games, which can be hard, but the squad’s looking very strong and everyone will be fighting for places, so it will be much more competitive.
“First of all, we need to be competing in these games coming up. We’re a big club ourselves, we know that and we’ve got players here who are capable of taking it to any team.”