Raith Rovers 0 Hibernian 2
Following a Stephens Steak Bridie and cup of lentil Loop the Loop, we settled into our seats at Raith today. Hibs plodded through the first half yet again, frankly it was awful to watch. Again we let them have too much of the ball and looked turgid and ordinary. The Bartley /Keatings midfield pairing didnae work, Marvin tried hard and was decent but Keatings was hopeless again and sticking two of our best players, McGeoch and McGinn so far out wide disnae work. There were a few changes, Cummings out due to illness I heard, replaced with debut boy Dagnall, Gray injured replaced by Gunnarsson and no place for Liam Henderson. It was poor fair first half and Stubbsy and his backroom team didnae give the players just a rocket, they also made some subtle successful tactical switches, and the good Hibs team we love seeing appeared.
We started the second much brighter yet again and the two substitutions after around 55- 60 minutes were the difference, first of all taking off Gunnarsson and bringing on Darren McGregor then replacing the decent Bartley with Henderson. With those changes, we also put Dylan in as the holding midfielder brought McGinn in through the middle and allowed Henderson a free role, along with the hard working Malonga who had moved plenty first half but had no service, who also had a free role dropping into midfield, going wide and generally making a nuisance of himself.
Dagnall worked hard and might have scored, he looked decent, Gunnarsson look ok, bit more to learn and do I think.
Is I just me or was it weird watching Hibs in purple whilst Raith played with those white sleeves, my wee brain was nippin confusing them with us.
Mark Oxley had almost nothing to do the whole game again, but dealt with anything he had to.
Gunnarsson did ok, but McGregor did far more when he replaced him.
For the third game in a row I thought Paul Hanlon was head and shoulders above the other defenders, improves every week.
Fontaine did fine, had the usual half chances to fluff but defended well.
Lewis Stevenson had a very good second half where he linked up with McGinn, McGeoch, Malonga and Henderson particularly well. I said the same last week. He was poor first half, gave far too many passes away first half.
Marvin, Marvin Bartley kept his place and did just fine, although I feel his is slow, he is very strong.
John McGinn did little in this daft left wing role he is asked to play in. The minute he was allowed to move more into the middle, he was part of the improvement in performance and had a strong last 30 minutes.
Dylan McGeoch never stopped trying, I write that line most weeks because it is fact He was great in the holding midfielders role, as he is fast of thought and quick of foot, he got us moving quicker, although he does overdo it sometimes.
Keatings done nothing, absolutely nothing, he was hopeless and played 90 minutes without really doing one thing of note. Nae idea why?
Dominique Malonga was decent enough first half, he had plenty movement and wanted the ball. He didnae get it. He was really good second half, he worked back fought for the ball laid off well and looked like the Dom we see snippets of. Then he took the ball, went round one Rovers player and cracked a 25 yard peach in the top corner, a proverbial stoatir of a goal. Well played son, that was a peach.
Dagnall had his debut, got 90 minutes in and looks decent, he wants the ball, has a decent touch and I think he will get us goals.
McGregor came on after 55 minutes and was part of the change in tactics, he got up and down the line, he disnae hide from a challenge and he scored the important first goal when the ball was put over he hit it from just inside the 18 yard box straight under the goalie and in. Great strike and proof that if you shoot you might just score.
Liam Henderson, came on for Bartley after 60minutes, with many Hibs fans not quite getting why, including myself. Liam went on to have one of his best performances in a Hibs shirt and his interplay with McGinn McGeoch and Malonga in particular basically allowed Hibs to rise their game. Well played son.
Boyle came on for Big Dom I guess to allow Dom the standing ovation he had earned, and Boyle made his self-busy for the last 10 or so.
Willie Colum, whilst doing nowt wrong other than forgetting he had cards in his pockets, shows how Scottish football refereeing is at an all-time low, Its guff as I said last week, why do I say that, well if he is No 1, deary me.
Tactically the first half was gash, you sorted it Alan, so fair play.
Raith had plenty possession but no cutting edge. They were pretty dirty today I though. Root toot, yur oot.
My man of the match in, purple, is either Dylan McGeoch or Paul Hanlon most weeks. Today I am going for someone often maligned in Dom Malonga, I though his efforts, especially second half earned it, if the didnae his peach of a goal did. Do Do Do.
Over 4,000 Hibs fans in a 5200 crowd, shows just how big our club are.
Next round, Hutchie Vale at Easter Road please.
Hibby Burpday Sean!