Why Hibs will benefit from scheduling of key Rangers clash

A 4pm Sunday kick-off at Hampden may seem like a strange time for a game of football but – it’s one that might actually work in Hibs’ favour as they prepare to face Rangers in the semi-final of the Premier Sports Cup.

Hibs winger Martin Boyle tries to give Dundee United full-back Scott McMann the slip during the 3-0 defeat at Easter Road
Hibs winger Martin Boyle tries to give Dundee United full-back Scott McMann the slip during the 3-0 defeat at Easter Road

Four of the Easter Road side’s starting line-up against Dundee United were on international duty with key man Martin Boyle returning towards the end of the week from Japan. James Scott, who entered the fray at half-time, had also been away with Scotland Under-21s, while unused substitute Alex Gogic had been involved with Cyprus.

It can’t be particularly easy to work on tactics in the lead-up to a game with a third of the starting line-up away and while every team with international players goes through the same process, Hibs especially seemed hampered as they struggled to, in the words of Jack Ross, be the best version of themselves.

The Capital club face a similar scenario ahead of their Hampden date on November 21 – but scheduling can help matters.

Boyle and the Socceroos take on Saudi Arabia in Australia before travelling to face China on November 16 and although the 28-year-old faces another long-haul flight back to Scotland that additional time could make a world of difference.

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Gogic and Cyprus play their second game on November 14, Kevin Nisbet and Scotland are on home turf against Denmark on November 15 while Josh Doig, Scott, and Scotland U21s will be based on home turf for matches against Kazakhstan and Belgium.

Nathan Wood and England Under-20s are in Portugal on November 11. That extra time could be vital as Hibs target another final appearance.

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