Why early impact of January signings should give Hibs fans reason for optimism

Greg Docherty, middle, and Marc McNulty, right, have both made a positive start to their Hibs careers.Greg Docherty, middle, and Marc McNulty, right, have both made a positive start to their Hibs careers.
Greg Docherty, middle, and Marc McNulty, right, have both made a positive start to their Hibs careers.
All four new recruits have shown enough so far to suggest they will enhance the squad and become regular starters

After a questionable summer recruitment drive with Paul Heckingbottom at the helm, Hibs desperately needed a squad-enhancing January transfer window. Early signs are that they have achieved this objective.

Most people felt the Easter Road club had enjoyed a fruitful January after they signed Stephane Omeonga, Greg Docherty, Paul McGinn and Marc McNulty and lost only one regular starter - Florian Kamberi - in addition to the out-of-favour trio of Oli Shaw, Josh Vela and Chris Maxwell. Good business on paper, certainly. The proof will be in the pudding, however, and we will only know for sure at the end of the campaign whether the club's mid-season remedial work has proved to be as good as it looked.

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Indications so far are that the new additions are equipped to have the desired effect. It was notable that Christian Doidge was the only one of Heckingbottom's recruits who started the Scottish Cup win over BSC Glasgow (albeit Joe Newell and Adam Jackson have both featured prominently in recent matches), while all four of last month's arrivals made the lineup. If early impressions are anything to go by, then there is every chance McNulty, Docherty, Omeonga and McGinn will be regulars for the remainder of this season.

Omeonga has started each of Hibs' last four matches in the previously problematic deep-lying midfield role and - without excelling - has been typically energetic and combative so far. The position appears to be the Belgian's to lose, and increased match fitness levels should see his influence grow in the weeks and months ahead.

McGinn, despite being the least-heralded of the new recruits, has taken to life at Hibs like a duck to water and over the course of his first three appearances - one sub outing and two starts - he has shown enough to suggest he can be relied upon to fill the right-back position for the rest of the season and beyond.

Yesterday's Scottish Cup tie, albeit against a Lowland League side, provided further evidence of the quality both Docherty and McNulty will bring to Easter Road. While most of their team-mates became bogged down in difficult conditions against plucky opponents, these two came to the fore. After making an eye-catching debut as a substitute in the 2-2 home draw with St Mirren, the on-loan Rangers midfielder marked his first start for Hibs by playing a part in the first goal, directly assisting the second and third goals, and scoring the fourth himself.

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Similarly, McNulty, who had been unable to make an impact in his first two sub outings against St Mirren and Rangers, gave supporters a welcome reminder of his clinical finishing ability as he marked the first start of his second stint at Easter Road with a well-taken hat-trick and an assist for Docherty.

If the new recruits continue in the manner in which they have started, then Hibs could yet enjoy a positive ending to a hitherto underwhelming campaign.