Talking point: Tactical tinkering can get best out of Hibs

A mixture of injuries and players not being available for selection has made it difficult to predict how Hibs will line up in any given match this season.

Saturday, 19th January 2019, 6:52 pm
Updated Saturday, 19th January 2019, 6:58 pm
Ryan Gauld shakes off three Elgin City players as he settles back into Scottish football

Players have been played out of position in a bid to benefit the team as a whole, with nothing really clicking, and at times there has been a lack of cohesion in the side.

However the arrival of Ryan Gauld has boosted the team and his new team-mates. The on-loan Sporting CP midfielder linked up well in the middle with Stevie Mallan, who netted a penalty and had a few cracks at goal from distance, but his presence in an attacking quartet behind lone striker Florian Kamberi allowed Daryl Horgan to resume his favoured position on the left wing, from where he scored twice and could have had more goals. Mallan, too, looked better for his spell in Dubai and was far more involved than matches before the winter break while Vykintas Slivka put in an assured performance on the right, crossing for Horgan to score his first and Hibs' second.

It was clear in the first half of the season that the Capital club were crying out for a player in the mould of Scott Allan; a classy midfielder, able to see passes no one else could and with the confidence - or arrogance - to try an audacious ball and make things happen. Gauld's through ball for Kamberi's opener against Elgin summed up why his signing was such a coup for Hibs, and why he can be the missing piece in the Easter Road side's midfield jigsaw.

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His versatility will be invaluable to Hibs depending on their opponent, and his ability to conjure chances out of nothing could be the difference between two or three positions by the time the final round of fixtures is played.

Gauld's years in Portugal give him an advantage over opposition players - he will be something of an unknown quantity and the element of surprise will be an added bonus.

It's early days yet - and this was League Two opposition rather than a Premiership foe - but the signs for Hibs are good.

If Gauld can keep pulling the strings in that No.10 role, freeing up his team-mates to focus on their own game, Hibs could yet return to the swashbuckling brand of attacking football that won them so many plaudits last term - and in more than one formation.