Mickey Weir: Martin Boyle through the middle gives Hibs more fluency

Experienced players find it easier to adapt than youngsters and that has made things difficult for Lee Johnson at Hibs so far.

The new manager has brought in a lot of new players and is trying to implement a new way of playing too.

Experienced pros who have been about the block understand what is being asked. The problem at Hibs this season is that a lot of the new players are inexperienced.

Integrating them into a new squad and a new way of playing simultaneously takes time, but it is time that Hibs can ill afford. We need to start getting results on the board and winning football matches.

Martin Boyle has shown already that he can be far more effective when playing through the middle. Picture: Alan Harvey / SNS

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That said, I can see what the new manager is trying to do. I like how we try to play the ball forward quickly.

It hasn’t just been about lumping it but getting it into the front men and playing from there. Under Shaun Maloney, the approach was possession-based, slow and too easy to defend against. There’s more of an up-and-at-em approach under Johnson. But much of it seems to be work in progress because of that lack of experience.

For one thing, there hasn’t been enough fluency and mobility in attack. Martin Boyle’s signing should help, but before he arrived it looked too rigid.

The 4-3-3 system Johnson played before changing it to 5-3-2 against Rangers was one I couldn't get my head around.

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In my day we very rarely played 4-3-3. Normally it would be 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1. Managers nowadays like to go with three in the middle of the pitch. What I don’t like about Johnson’s 4-3-3 shape is the way we set up with right and left wingers who stay out wide, leaving the central striker very isolated.

Playing as a lone striker through the middle is difficult. In that 4-3-3 shape, I’d like to see the wide players do more than just stay up and wide. They need to come in and become strikers at times. They need to move opposition defences and keep them guessing.

I prefer mobile strikers, especially when there are three up. The Hibs front three have been a bit static, with the wide men at times just marking opposition full-backs.

It’s asking a lot of Boyle to play that wide role when he hasn’t had a pre-season. Opposition teams often double up and make it difficult.

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But I’ve always liked Boyle through the middle – like he was against Rangers – and that could be the answer for Hibs. Boyle is a threat, moving the centre-backs, running in behind and stretching defences.

Elias Melkerson is another one who has played out on the right wing, but for me he is an out-and-out No 9. He’s young, but he is a goal scorer.

I’d like to see him play between the posts and get himself into the box. In the longer term that is surely where he will end up. He’s got something about him.

There are options. We can play with three or two. When Kevin Nisbet comes back it will give us more of a goal threat and Elie Youan looks like he also has a lot to offer too. He’s got pace, he’s direct. He could be playing between the posts a bit more as well.

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Getting closer to the goals is what I’d like to see more of from all the Hibs forwards.

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