Michael Weir: Derby exertions left Hibs feeling flat against St Johnstone

I wouldn't go as far as to say St Johnstone have become a bogey team for Hibs although they do have a pretty good record recently against us.

Wednesday, 7th November 2018, 5:30 am
Neil Lennon's side face a big test against Aberdeen on Friday

But there are certainly teams from time to time who seem to cause you more problems than others. A few years ago, it was Airdrie who made life difficult and more recently we just couldn’t get a result against Ross County.

However, while you have to credit St Johnstone for the current run they are on – four wins without a goal conceded is a hard thing for any side to achieve in the Premiership – I felt Hibs just didn’t get going on Saturday.

I don’t think you can fault the players, they put a lot of energy into the game and there was no lack of desire but our play just looked a bit fragmented. I felt the balance just wasn’t right, that there were too many players of a similar type on the pitch.

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The injuries we’ve had since the start of the season and the breaks we’ve had certainly haven’t helped, with a good number of new players having come in we’ve struggled a bit to find a rhythm and I think Neil Lennon is still trying to find the ideal blend.

I also believe the players were feeling the effects of last Wednesday’s derby. I know St Johnstone had also played last midweek but, with all due respect, Livingston away isn’t quite the same as Tynecastle and all the furore which engulfed the game. Until you’ve played in one I don’t think you can fully understand the physical and emotional toll a derby takes. It looked the same for Hearts as they went to Celtic Park and struggled.

Easter Road was rather flat both on and off the pitch. Florian Kamberi was a big miss for Hibs. We lacked his physical presence, although St Johnstone were superbly organised at the back putting the onus on us to find a way to break them down.

However, I felt we overplayed things at times, trying to thread the ball through the eye of a needle rather than perhaps throwing a few crosses into the box.

Now we’ve got Aberdeen away on Friday, another side who seem to have struck form in recent weeks and who will provide another big test.