What Hibs have to do to get a result against Motherwell at Fir Park

Hibs travel to Motherwell on Saturday knowing three points is vital in the race for third or even second, depending on Celtic’s league form.
Hibs could benefit from Alex Gogic's presence in midfield this weekendHibs could benefit from Alex Gogic's presence in midfield this weekend
Hibs could benefit from Alex Gogic's presence in midfield this weekend

With the Easter Road side just a point behind Aberdeen – who face a return to Paisley, scene of their Betfred Cup exit – winning matches like this as opposed to drawing them could make all the difference at the business end of the season.

Jack Ross’ side has only lost two away matches this term and their form on the road has tended to be better than their performances at home. By comparison, Stephen Robinson's side have only won two of their home games – a 1-0 win against St Johnstone, and a 4-0 dismantling of Ross County.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But Hibs don’t have a great record at Fir Park. Their last win came in October 2017 and even that was a first away success in ML1 since October 2012 although granted Hibs had spent three seasons in the Championship.

If the Capital club is serious about a successful season they must triumph in this fixture.

Win the midfield battle

The most searingly obvious point is that Hibs will have to win the midfield battle if they are to win this game and on recent showings the smart money would be on Motherwell coming out on top. Jack Ross may be tempted to tinker with his system – expect Alex Gogic to make a return, and potentially Melker Hallberg, given the Swede’s introduction against Dundee early in the second half at the expense of Stevie Mallan.

Motherwell midfielder Allan Campbell will theoretically be available after completing a period of self-isolation but won't have trained and could miss out. Assuming the Steelmen line up with a triangular midfield trio of Robbie Crawford as the six and Liam Polworth and Mark O’Hara as the two eights, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Hibs to mirror that with Gogic holding, and Hallberg partnering Joe Newell in central midfield.

Abandon 4-4-2 – again

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hibs went 4-1-4-1 against Celtic and very nearly got the result their second half performance deserved. Jack Ross kept faith with the formation against St Johnstone before abandoning it early in the second half in favour of 4-4-2.

Put simply, Hibs do not have the bodies in midfield to successfully play a 4-4-2 against most Scottish Premiership clubs. It worked well at the beginning of the season but opponents are getting wise to it. Any team that plays more than two midfielders in the centre – as Motherwell do – will almost certainly have the upper hand and lining up in a 4-4-2 at Fir Park will be just asking for trouble.

Wind Boyle up and let him go

When Martin Boyle is on song, he is virtually unstoppable. That electric pace combined with an improving eye for goal, and the sneaking suspicion that half the time the winger doesn’t know what his next move will be can so often work to Hibs' advantage.

But in recent weeks he has struggled to hit the levels he is capable of. There have been flashes of his talent in some matches but if he can rediscover the sort of form that helped him score the winner at Fir Park in October 2017 Hibs could be a team transformed.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our sports coverage with a digital sports subscription.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.