Just back from a very cold Falkirk stadium where Hibs managed to get the victory through a ‘contentious’ penalty which Cummings tucked away nicely. A very strong Hibs support with very little empty seats from where I was. I reckon around 1800 made it through which is tremendous given it was a Tuesday night at the tail end of October and there was no cash gate.
3 changes made from Saturday with Hanlon, McGeouch & Bartley replacing Fontaine, Fyvie & Henderson (the most surprising) meaning that Keating retained his place at the tip of the diamond.
It took Hibs a while to get going and we could’ve been 1-0 down with Falkirk hitting the bar. When we did get going, it eventually led to the goal. A lovely little exchange down the left hand side with Malonga ending up in a similar position like against Dumbarton, he curled the ball towards the far post that the Falkirk keeper got a good hand to & from the resulting corner McGinn was fouled for the penalty.
Second half was a struggle at times, we didn’t seem to manage to find a green jersey with our passing & seemed to find it really difficult once Baird came on alongside the other Hearts fud Miller up front. Also it seemed to me like we were sitting far far too deep at times and struggled to get out which just invited pressure onto us. Luckily for us Falkirk had nothing about them to punish us too much. The lack of an ‘outball’ was frustrating as well with the midfield being so narrow, there wasn’t anyone willing to take the ball out wide and push us up the park a bit.
Oxley – never had that much to do, what he did have to deal with he dealt with it well. Seemed a bit quicker distributing the ball which was a nice change.
Gray – wasn’t helped by a lack of support in front of him due to the system we played, didn’t do much wrong
McGregor – our best centre half IMO, very strong on and off the ball, rarely loses a challenge. Slotted in very well in the defence
Hanlon – A welcome return for Paul to the XI, although I thought he struggled at times against Miller.
Stevenson – Lewis was Lewis, solid 6 out of 10. Still needs to work on his final ball.
Bartley – the big man was back in to give us a bit of steel in front of the defence and didn’t really get involved in the game too much except absolutely clattering one of the Falkirk players.
McGeouch – as Mark usually says, Dylan can be a delight to watch when he’s on his game. Tonight wasn’t one of those games, admittedly he wasn’t the only one but we can put this down as a one off.
McGinn – worked his socks off and won us the penalty. On a night of average-ish performances throughout the side, John didn’t let his head drop and kept working. I like this laddie, a lot.
Keatings – buzzed about and worked hard but never really had much to work with, especially second half when the midfield sat so deep. Keatings is an intelligent wee fitba player & will get us goals if he avoids injuries. Subbed.
Cummings – Jason gets a raw deal at times from supporters and whilst I agree he does have flaws that he needs to work on, he scores goals which is the most important thing in a game of football. Subbed.
Malonga – Dom has really hit form recently and carried it into this game with glimpses of his mercurial talent, those who say he doesn’t work talk $@*%. Unlucky not to get a goal.
Henderson – came on for Cummings to give us an extra body in midfield, followed the example of his teammates in that he struggled to get a grip on the game.
Fontaine – on for Keatings to give us a bit more solidity at the back with Falkirk having went 2 up front, didn’t have much time.
Stubbs tactics were a bit different today, very pedestrian like (once again) on the ball and like I’ve mentioned in the second half, we say so deep which just invited pressure especially when Baird came on. Would’ve brought Fontaine on earlier to shore the defence up a bit and would’ve introduced Boyle to give us an option out wide. Can’t grumble though we got the win which is the most important thing.
Referee – fouls given that we not fouls for either side, not giving fouls that were fouls again for both sides, something needs to be done about refereeing in Scotland, it’s getting worse every week and it’s not a symptom of the league we’re in either.
Have zero time for Falkirk, managed by a Hearts fud with a couple of Hearts fuds in the team and also have a bunch of moaning assed fans that shout ‘CHEAT CHEAT CHEAT’ whenever they get a decision against them.
Another thing was the quiet atmosphere (once again) in the Hibs support, haven’t experienced that away from home that often before and hope it’s just circumstances that are dictating that rather than any other issues.
My MOTM is the 1800 Hibernian supporters who braved the cold and rain to watch another Hibs victory, I doff my cap to you all.
Onwards and upwards now, 8 points behind the Huns let’s make sure we can put as much pressure on them as possible.
This hasn’t quite been Mark’s just back however I hope I’ve provided a nice change in his absence.