Hibs lined up with a 4- 4- 2 with a suggested injury to Liam Fontaine changing our shape. Pleased to see Dylan McGouch starting with the shape of the midfield looking much much better. I have been critical somewhat of Marvin Bartley, I do think he slows our play down, but today was perfect for him. Indeed it was perfect for a number of our players, with Darren McGregor, Paul Hanlon, Lewis Stevenson and David Gray looking good, Dylan and Marv looking the part, Keats again giving us something different and Jason having a great first half especially.
The game started well, I thought early doors, the buddies matched us, and had the over 1500 Hibs fans who had sold out the away end, spilling into the St Mirren pitch side stand a wee bit twitchy. A strange first goal when viewed from the Hibs end with a number of us assuming Holt had broken his duck, only to find out the goal had been tapped in by Jase after fantastic work by David Gray, Captain of Hibernian and scorer of the winning goal in the Scottish Cup final, against a 4 year old Sevco in their first ever Scottish Cup Final. Something I reminded the mass huns from my car to and from Paisley today as we past the hunnery, it appears they dinnae like Hibs or their fans?
Hibernian look good, it could have easily been five or six, more clinical finishing and a bit of luck it might have been. Did I mention the introduction of Andrew Shinnie? No, well I will later. Wow.
So to the players……
Laidlaw saved when he had to but he didnt have much to do dressed in his Solero Ice Lolly kit.
David Gray, captain of Hibernian and scorer of the winning goal in the 2016 Scottish Cup Final, created our first goal and played very well.
Paul Hanlon strolled through the game. He is class and on his day one of Scotland’s best centre halfs.
Darren McGregor is a class defender, he never gives the ball away (often).
Lewis had a good game today, was keen to get up field and cause trouble which he did.
Marvin Bartley enjoyed his game today, it was perfect for him, he got tore in, confronting, breaking play up and doing the simple stuff. Too many stray passes to Marv.
John McGinn improved as the game went on, his raker of shot which hit the postage stamp of bar and post and deserved a goal, had the Hibs fans singing the Super John song with gusto.
Keats had a good first half and made of nuisance of himself. I think he has improved under Lenny, that is good. He was replaced by Shinnie with 21 to go .
Dylan McGeouch had a great game, he makes Hibernian tick and I love watching him play football the proper way. He made a couple of wee gaffs, its allowed as he really is a smashing player, a real Hibs player, like Super John., he fits the way I like to watch our team play.
Holt lumbered his way through the game, frankly I wasn’t much impressed with anything other than his effort.
Jason Cummings is prospering under the mentoring of Lenny and his backroom team, every week he improves, his all round game just gets better and better, his link up play, directness, and team work is much improved. This laddie will leave us for a fortune. And that was just the first half!!
The first change saw Andrew Shinnie replace the hardworking Keatings with 20 to go. If Andrew Shinnie plays as well as he did today every week, we are in for a treat. He can beat a man, indeed he can beat a few with ease, is direct, not scared to shoot, not scared to pass, accurately. I thought he was magnificent in his 20 minute cameo. Wow this guy has me pretty excited about what is to come.
Then we saw Grant Holt removed in place of Brian Graham, who in his 15 minutes done more than I have seen from Holt so far this season. He might have scored, he certainly wanted to. If that is his attitude, he is a welcome addition.
Squirrell replaced Jase with five or so to go, and done his job, he drags us forward and is direct and fast.
Our portly and rotund coaching team got it right, more than right. Excellent tactics from Lenny, good substitutions and first impressions on the two new boys are good. This is good stuff, great football, good defending and clever changes. I like it.
St Mirren were poor, I expected more, even Mallan didnt shine. Their fans were mute right up to when they booed them off.
I thought the referee, Don Robertson, had a very good game although he needs to remember the 10 yard rule is the same for both teams.
Overall, Hibernian played very well and when the goals get flowing we will thump teams. Shinnie and Graham looked good, Shinnie was very, very impressive. The shape is good, Fraser warmed up today, imagine a midfield of Fraser, Dylan, Super John and Andrew Shinnie, I can and its a wet dream type of feeling!
Man of the Match for me could have been four or five Hibs players, Darren and Paul were solid, Marvin was a rock, Jason done what he does best, scores and the Shinnie cameo was fantastic, but for me, it was Dylan McGeouch who was the brightest star, when Dylan plays we are simply good to watch.
Big shout the over 1500 Hibernian fans who arrived in Paisley drookit, but last 20 we saw them over the line with good noisy support, I think the team enjoy the post match applause, Lenny and Gary make sure they do!!