I thoroughly enjoyed that, its great being at a positive Easter Road. Whilst the team pretty much matched what I thought it might be, the performance of key players improved significantly, the way we played, certainly for the first hour was lovely to watch, high tempo, fast flowing fitba’ against a team who gave there all but having nothing up front. Then there was the Ref.
One of the gripes of many of us was the performance of our spine, the players we can normally rely on. Daz looking past it, Hanlon not a shadow of himself, Milligan off the pace, Slivka too lightweight, Mallan no doing enough, Flo in the huff. Today Daz was Daz, the real Paul Hanlon showed up, both Milligan and Slivka had their best games in a Hibernian jersey and I though Flo was great. Add to that the movement of Horgan, Lewis and captain Dave enjoying their game, Rocky there when needed and McNulty on the score-sheet. If Heckingdale and Stockbottom can do that in a few days, what will be look like in a few weeks. It certainly has me intrigued and by Sauzee, excited.
The first hour we played a high press game, mixed with excellent passing from Milligan, Slivka, Horgan and Mallan, good running from the front two as the defence looked like they used to only a six months ago. I didnae even quietly weep at no Efe today ( I have been), and I only let John and Dylan slip into my thoughts once or twice. Last half hour there were changes, but I think those of us who watch the team regularly, know there is not 90 minutes of high press in the team…….yet. A fine goal from Flo which delighted me followed by a mental penalty where Marc Mac left his team mates under no illusions who take the penalties at Hibs nowadays, it could have been a fair few more.
I was impressed, two days to make an impression and the new gaffers did. We know we have good players, today three of four showed just how good they are.
Ofir was rarely bothered but had a fine save when called upon second half. Distribution still needs much improved, Sir David Gray saved Ofir’s blushes by keeping too many hopeless punts from the goalie in play.
Sir David Gray, scorer of the winning goal in the Scottish Cup Final 2016 whilst wearing the captains armband had a smashing game today, A proper threat going forward and good defender, he is also is the best header of a ball at the club. Won us the penalty after being assaulted for no reason. A simple fact, Hibernian are a better team when Sir David is on his game and fully fit.
Darren McGregor played like a 21 one year old, I thought he was fantastic today.
Boaby Hanlon has left the stadium, to be replaced by the real Paul Hanlon, nice to see the Paul Hibs fans love, he was as good as Daz today.
Lewis was great, played left back in a four and utilised the space well going forward.
Mark Milligan started at Hibs like an Aussie Sauzee. That died a death quickly. Today Mark played like the player I thought he was, he had a magnificent first hour, winning the ball back and spraying passes like Sergi Busquets. One or two worldies didnae come off but I fair enjoyed watching a rejuvenated Spike. Best game in a Hibs shirt.
Steven Mallan again gave more today than he has in months, involved in everything and seemed to enjoy it too. Good son.
Daryll Horgan started, I assumed leading a high press but in fact as far left as Leon Trotsky. His ball for Flo’s goal was sublime. He managed 65 minutes before being subbed, that is five minutes more than usual.
I kept the best midfielder for last. I have been a wee bit critical of Vykintas Slivka, I do not doubt his excellent fitba ability, he is a player and I am delighted to have players like Vykintas at Hibs. I do doubt his heart. Today he brought his fitba talent and desire to go forward, play a pass, slow it down, speed it up and added desire to win the ball, close the opposition down and win the ball. A couple of his dragbacks and dinks were world class. Like Spike, Slivka had his best game in a Hibs shirt today.
Marc McNulty is a player. He scored again and leads the line well. I hope we can sign him up longer term.
Flo Kamberi has the moaners on his back, I thought he was superb today, he scored, his runs with ball at feet are great, he tracks back unlike other strikers and is showing confidence. His first touch needs improving but I see a great future in front of Florian, get off his back moaners.
As I predicted at the game, Omeonga replaced Horgan after 70 minutes. Stephane was superb, skillful, nippy, hard and deserved a goal that came off the post. I like him. A player.
Oli came on for Marc Mac who got a well deserved ovation. Oli proceeded to duff two good chances and generally do his starting chances no good. You are better than that son.
Lewis Allan replaced Flo with five to go. Flo too received a well earned standing ovation from the support. Lewis proceeded to do his chances of another appearance no harm as he lead the line well. I was impressed son.
Accies are lead by two ex Hibs favourites, Brian Rice and Boozy. They are punchless up front although they do play some lovely fitba especially down their left hand side, with their number 11 Miller and 46 Sowah standing out. Much as I like both Brian and Boozy, I am afraid I would rather see Dundee United at Easter Road than Accies, sorry guys.
The referee was awful Alan Muir is incompetent and might have spoiled the game. If he is not demoted for that performance, it just underlines the levels of incompetency in out game. An idiot.
A good turn out for the kids holidays, 16,000 Hibs fans, a couple of hundred from Hamilton is decent. The signing section never stopped, the Easties added the odd murmur, us in the West rustled our sweetie wrappers and loudly ripped open our prawn sarnies.
My Man of the Match was Slivka, I thought he was magic. Honourable mentions to Flo, Daz, Sir Dave, Paul and Flo.
I have left Paul and Robbie until last , but they have got the winning start we all need in advance of a couple of tough away games. They had two days to tweak and tweak they did, same players but a different approach. I said I was underwhelmed on day one, warmed to PHB on second interview and am now distinctly positive that we have a good new coaching team that get the Hibernian way and their opinion on how fitba should be played matches ours. Its early days, just kissed, maybe got to first based, but I have a wee feeling we might enjoy this ride. Well done lads, well done Hibs.
In summary, that was 2 coming on 4 or 5, we have the players, we have the management team, we have the support, results went our way, although the Huns only drawing didnae help and wanting the Hertz to win the morn is no something I can do, but we are in the mix and I cannae wait for next Friday night and the banks of the Silvery Tay, even though the ticket prices are robbery and its live on the telly on Skidmark Sports or some such channel.