Today I thought Hibs were rubbish, we were lucky to scrape the win, but win we did and that what counts. With United drawing we go six points clear after our worst performance of the season.
A couple of changes, with Paul Hanlon out for 2 to 3 weeks with I think an ankle injury and Dylan injured again, Liam Fontaine returned and rather surprisingly there was a return for Fraser Fyvie. We started well enough, but you knew it would be a long day after a few minutes when the hapless Fontaine hoofed the ball aimlessly. We got our goal after good link up play between Gray and Humphrey, calmly slotted home by Kris Commons. Dumbarton then proceeded to play us off the pitch most of the rest of the game.
They gave us a torrid time, as Lennon and Parker deliberated on changes for way too long. Fyvie and Marv cannae play together, Humphreys and Boyle were never in the game, the midfield sat too deep and Fontaine had a stinker. Jase had no service from wide, Commons tried to link play but there were way too many errors. On a positive note, I thought McGregor was magnificent, Gray had a good first hour and last 10, Stevenson done well second half and the goalie, Laidlaw, had a fine game.
However, we won, we are six points ahead and that is the key.
I thought Laidlaw had a very good game, he is brave, he can win the high balls punted at us, he made a fine save at an important time. He also learned that Liam Fontaine is NOT Paul Hanlon.
Stevenson was very poor first half, as was Boyle in front of him. Mis-placed passes, easily beaten by plumbers and joiners, he then went on to have an good second half after a lung busting run he was unlucky not to score.
Darren Mcgregor is a class defender, other than one mistake, he was rock solid.
I thought Liam Fontaine was rotten, rank rotten. Hoof and hoof and hoof again, slow of thought, slower along the ground, out of position far to much, he owes Marv big time for Marvin’s intelligence in tucking in for him. Frankly he did not look physically or match fit.
David Gray, Captain and winning goal scorer in the Scottish Cup Final 2016, and Hibernian legend, had a good 70 minutes, the first hour and the last ten. He got forward more than Humphrey and defended wth the heart of a lion with a couple of Darren McGregor style blocks when it mattered.
Marv was ok today, he got booked for an innocuous foul. He was not a patch on last Friday and my conclusion is we do not need Fraser Fyvie and Marvin Bartley in the same Hibs team. Marv is a big game player. Today he made too many silly errors and took more time than he had sometimes.
I was both pleased and surprised to see Fraser starting. He never stopped running and works very hard to win the ball. His passes are rather haphazard and he and Marv fall over each other, often way too deep.
Kris Commons improves every week as he gets fitter. I thought he never stopped trying to open them up and service Jason. He took his goal well and I hope we can do something with the Lesser Greens to keep him. If we can’t, he goes with my thanks and best wishes, he is a player.
Other than the good work leading up to our goal, I thought Humphrey offered nothing.
Boyle’s touch was honking today, he works hard, he runs but as a Hibs player who cannot go past a part timer, but turns back instead, you know he is not going to step up. I like his attitude, I think his touch is appalling and he needs to take people on, he has the ability to beat them, maybe not the belief?
Jason got no service, Boyle and Humphrey gave him nowt, Commons tried to bit it didnae come off. I though Jason showed himself a lot, but nothing got to him.
Well Lennon and Parker simply took too long to make changes, we were in danger of losing a goal for much of the second half, we waited until there was 20 to go to make the changes, although they were effective ones, that need to be done earlier, stop pissing about with that clipboard and biro and make them.
John McGinn and Grant Holt replaced Humphrey and Cummings and made the difference.
SJM always improves a Hibs performance, the laddie is enthusiastic and direct and he drove us forward, however the main improvement was the introduction of Holt who held the ball up brilliantly, dragged our line forward and took the game to Dumbarton. I dinnae fancy Holt as a starter, but he was very, very good in helping us keep those three points. He has not impressed me at all, today he did. A good double substitution, ten minutes too late for me.
Forster came on for Commons for the last ten and shored us up to ensure the points. I would prefer to see him paired up with Daz next week and down at Queens in two weeks.
Neil Lennon in his post match interview felt had we taken our chances we would have won comfortably. I disagree, I though we were damned lucky to come home with three pints and that was not good enough. Sorry Neil, I know why you say what you say, but ye cannae kid the 700 or so Hibs fans who were there, that was hard fought, but rotten.
I thought Dumbarton were very good, they played better football than Hibs and had they taken a point we could not of complained. Their number 23, Lewis Vaughan, was first class and a well deserved man of match for them. He gave the defence a torrid time. On loan from Raith and an Edinburgh lad, we could do worse than keep tabs on him, I thought he and his team done their club proud today. We moan about teams sitting in when they play us, Dumbarton brought the game to us and that was a tough one. Well played Dumbarton, you will take points off other teams, some nice fitba spoiled by the sight of that fat Hearts barsteward Nade pushing and fouling and not getting booked, but also missing a sitter as he dreamed of his all you can eat buffet when he should have been concentrating at the back post.
The referee and car park side linesman were hopeless, what is new?
Man of the Match was easily Number 23, Lewis Vaughan of Dumberaton, well played son, get that stupid haircut sorted though. Hibs best player might have been our Goalie Laidlaw, or David Gray, but for me Darren McGregor was resolute in ensuring the three points headed east. He’s a class defender.
Funny aside today, half way through the second half, a Hibs fan resplendant in bunnet and retro specs walked along the front of the Hibs fans, as I turned to comment to my sons on the guys remarkable resemblance to Winston on Still Game, a wit behind us shouted, “Haw Winston”, Winston turned around and looked up, surprised but fund oot! You had to be there.
A wee shout out to the seven FC Groningen brothers who have come over for Big G and his family. Guys, you are magnificent and we love you, thank you.
Next week its the Guntery and Bonnyrigg Rose. I ken a few bouncers have mixed allegiances. I dinnae, lets go to the Bus Shelter and put 10 past this shower. Spoil their day, make them close their pubs early and spoil the day for the many Jambos who will no doubt adopt them, fiddling in their pockets a la Gorgie, hoping for a Cup upset against the current holders. Then hope Raith and another cock, this time Gary, put one over them on the Sunday.
Live Forever Shaun.