Hibernian 1 Raith Rovers 0
We plodded through the first half, let them have too much of the ball and looked turgid and ordinary. We started the second much brighter and looked like the Hibs team of before that break period that knocked us off our stride.
Last week I suggested that the vast majority of the Hibs players were poor, none were poor today, they realised we needed the goal and second half we really pushed a decent Rovers team. I felt the boss took too long to make the changes again, but we held out and the win will do.
A couple of snippets of gossip to begin with, first I spoke to the very affable Farid pre match who had his family at the game He tells me he is just about there fitness wise, its daft niggles that keep getting him now. Just to dispel a rumour, Henri Anier has not been recalled by United, his agreement appears to be that Hibs can return him, United cannot recall him. Good, as every time we bring him on he looks creative strong and shows a desire some others dinnae.
The line up had a few surprises, the first was Stevenson starting at left back when some had suggested he was suspended, the welcome return of Gray after his head knock at the Hunnery, Fontaine in for McGregor and Malonga in for Keatings. Scott Robertson started as right back for Raith, work that one out?
Mark Oxley had almost nothing to do the whole game, even with that big hunfaced, Jambo trainer to be John Daly up front for Rovers.
David Gray had a decent game today getting up and down that line all game, especially second half.
For the second game in a row I thought Paul Hanlon was head and shoulders above the other defenders, class.
Fontaine came in for McGregor, and did ok, should have scored a couple but then it’s a common complaint about him, missing chances.
Lewis Stevenson had a very good second half where he linked up with McGinn, McGeoch and Henderson particularly well.
Marvin, Marvin Bartley came in for the suspended Fyvie and earned his standing ovation when he was swapped for Keatings with 10 to go. He is big and strong, but does sit in so deep it affects the midfield.
John McGinn started in this wide berth Stubbsy insists on playing him in. He tried to get involved first half but disnae get enough of the ball. Second half he was everywhere with, as I mention, his hard tacking and link up play between McGeoch, Henderson, Stevenson and occasionally Cummings and Dom great to watch when it come off. I enjoyed the clever corners Henderson and John kept taking second half, some clever training ground stuff being tried.
Dylan McGeoch never stopped trying, he is a year or so older than John but these two laddies are the real deal and Dylan leads our team. He is also skilful and hard and was a stand out for us. As above, his link up play was great to watch second half. I love watching McGeoch now that Rantic twit Scott Whatshisname has gone.
Liam Henderson, looked clueless other than a couple of good balls first half, said the same at Mordor. Second half, he, McGeoch and McGinn interchanged much more and Henderson looked much more like the player we know he can be.
Dom came in for Keatings and did his job, he ran off players held the ball up well and moved plenty. Pity he often looks so languid as he has undoubted skill.
Jason is better beside a player who can hold the ball up. I though, much like most of his team mates, he was average first half, but gave us a good 40 minutes second half before making way for Anier. He won the penalty, had it saved then ran in to score from the goalies fumble That is what good strikers do, score goals, almost every week.
Keatings came on for Bartley and did very little of note.
Anier came on for Jase and looked decent, he wins the ball, has a good touch, an eye for goal and works his socks off. Would like to see him get 45 minutes beside Jason.
The referee was as good as most this season which is to say he was poor. Scottish football refereeing is at an all-time low. Its guff.
Raith are a decent team, they came to play fitba and whilst they sat in a lot, they did have us twitchy at times. They had to open up after we scored and fair play, right up to when they had the man sent off, they did come at us. Any team that had Turnbull Hutton as their chairman will always have my respect, a proper fitba club with over 600 fans inside Easter Road today. It will be difficult over there next week, they are nae mugs Hibs. It was nice to see Scott Robertson back playing too.
My man of the match in green was Dylan McGeogh for a second game in a row, great to have you back son, really great. I also though Paul Hanlon was excellent all game and the Blessed John McGinn looked like his young self again second half.
11,000 in the holy Ground today, I would take that every week.
On Monday, I said we would win the league. We will win the league.
See you all behind the goals in Kirkcaldy next week, get over there and get behind the team if you can.