Hibernian 3 St Mirren 1
Over 10,000 fans turned up, no doubt to see the return of the most welcome Anthony Stokes but it was another dodger loanee who starred, with a fine performance from the back to form Liam Henderson, my fellow West Lothian Green was very good today and was a deserved man of the match from the 12th man.
More changes today with the injury to Dylan, we miss Dylan when he is out, he makes us tick, without him our pace slows. Dom Malonga also dropped out for Chris Dagnall and Liam Henderson was back in for the off form Keatings and finally David Gray was back at right back, a bit hard on Darren McGregor who had played well at Falkirk last week, but good to see David back. For me , we played a slightly strange 1 4 2 2 2 formation, no sure it worked, but one or two of youngsters worked and it was those players that complemented the strange formation.
We played at a higher pace than recently in the first half and if we didn’t fritter so many chances, over pass and the two wee strikers simply took a shot, we would have been comfortable by half time. What we did see was a smashing goal from Liam Henderson, a well worked goal from John McGinn and in those two laddies, we saw a desire to win, and win playing good football. I though the goalie and back four played well, not sure of Oxley’s positioning at their well taken free kick goal, someone from the Famous Five may have seen it better, Fraser Fyvie blew hot and cold, he can do well when it comes off, a good pass here, a strong challenge there, often followed by a misplaced pass, or a poor first touch. Big Marv was poor I thought, he is slow of thinking and drags the pace down, the attack just didnae work today until Anthony Stokes of Garryowen came on.
St Mirren were better than they had been under Ihun Murray, although they clogged their way through the game much like their Herman Munster faced manager used to do for Dundee and the Huns. We played them off the pitch but whilst we won 3-1, we were not comfortable until we scored a late third. I hope Tony gets into the swing of things quickly, as he will score those missing goals, he looks lean, he was papping them in the net in the warm up.
Mark Oxley did like he does most weeks nowadays, he is a good goalie these days and rarely makes a mistake, no sure about the positioning at the goal, but he is awfy for slowing things doon and time wasting.
Gray came back and had a solid performance, it’s good to see Hibernian having such quality that we have to bench Darren McGregor.
Paul Hanlon strolled through the game, generally does and looks like the player many of us felt he could be. One punter behind me complimented Paul’s touch and turn first half by saying “Pat Stanton is back”. I am not saying he is Pat Stanton, not by any means, but he has become a graceful but strong centre half, who has a fine touch and good ability.
Liam Fontaine played well today, he just needs to learn to head a ball properly in the opposition box, but then I said the same last and every week.
Lewis Stevenson was not as good last week but played well.
Fyvie is a funny one, I said that last week after his in and out performance, he does so much well, then gives two or three easy passes away, he still gets into my team every week as I expect much, much more from him.
John McGinn ignored that daft left winger role for much of the game and we are the better for it, following good work from Cummings, he took his goal very well, and he interplayed well with Henderson, and later in the game with Stokesy and Keatings, even when those black and white striped fandans tried to hurt him.
Dylan McGeoch didnae play today, we missed him. I stuck him in the first 11, just to make that point.
Liam Henderson was very good first half, smashing 22 yard free kick, he improved even more second half and had probably his second best performance in a Hibernian shirt, bettered only by his performance against St Midden last Autumn. I hope Liam chooses to stay with us, he is a proper fitba player.
Chris Dagnall worked hard but I felt today he seemed a bit lost, given he looked to have something about him at Raith and last week in Falkirk when he came on. I reckon he will get us goals.
Cummings didnae have his best game, that is allowed.
Anthony Stokes came on a to a rapturous welcome back, for a player who is liked by the Thellick fans, but clearly not by their management, it must have been good to ”feel the love” again, the Hibernian fans welcome him back with gusto. Tony will score us goals, he will make us oohh and ahh, he will get us up, he will get a place at the European Championships and go with our blessing, I am chuffed to see this laddie back in original green. My pal, fitbalista and fellow Hibby suggested that the difference between a young striker like Young Jason and an established one like Tony Stokes is Stokes knows where to be to score goals. Welcome back mac, we are delighted to have you back, go do your job, make yourself a Hibs hero.
James Keatings has been rotten for weeks and maybe I was hard on him, others suggested he was being played out of position. They possibly had a point as he came on today, worked well with Stokes, turned the Saints right back inside out and rolled a lovely ball along the line for Stokesy to score the first of many. That is much more like it.
Darren McGregor came on with a couple of minutes to go, I suspect for nothing more than to give the Hibs Fans an opportunity to give Liam Henderson a well-earned standing ovation. I still prefer Darren to Liam Fontaine, but it’s a great place to be, where we are choosing between such a decent level of player.
No idea the refs name, but he was not hard enough on the cloggers in black and white, seen worse though. Again there was a couple of penalty situations that would be given without hesitation at the Hunnery.
The first half was better than it has been although we just dinnae score enough goals to kill pishy teams off. I suggested after last weeks game that you drop Keatings and possibly Malonga, bring Henderson back in and introduce us to our short term striker and favourite son of Erin, Anthony Stokes. You did Alan, thanks for listening pal. (I know he never guys, just kidding).
St Mirren were an average second tier team, and blootered and bashed away with limited skill. I did like the cut of number 14, Mallan who was by far their best player. Rae can piss off back to Ibrox, scary faced Hun that he is.
My man of the match was easy and I agree with the 12th man, stand up and collect your champagne Liam Henderson, excellent performance and attitude to prove you are part of our starting 11.
Good crowd and good noise from the Since1875 lads and lassies, you were heard throughout the game from my seat nibbling a prawn sannie in the west lower.
Thanks to Livingston for sticking that mouthy Jambo dick Houston on his erse and spoiling the MSN’s Hibs are third comments. Second and chasing the Hundogs down. We are coming to get you, we are Hibernian FC.