Some of Hibs’ play was entertaining, fast, flowing, and certainly not short of attacking intent. The crossbar wobbled, Liam Kelly threw himself in the way of shots and so did his defenders. Inviting crosses had no takers.
On another day, Hibs might have scored two or three goals in the second half and won the game comfortably.
As it was, groans and moans became more audible from the home supporters, crescendoing to full-blown booing and jeering at the final whistle. It is pantomime season after all.
Unfortunately, Hibs don’t appear to have put their poor run of form behind them just yet, even if there are positive signs.
Looking at things through green-tinted specs, they’ve taken four points from their last three games after a run of five successive defeats. But without an Hibernian tint, it’s four points from a possible 24, stretching back to early October.
If this was indeed a Christmas show at the theatre, Hibs would be edging closer and closer to the stage trapdoor, the audience expecting them to fall through it at any moment.
Looking up, and down
The Easter Road side are just eight points from third. But they’re also just six points off the relegation play-off places, and eight points above bottom spot. For a team that stayed in the top four for well over a season, it’s a concerning state of affairs.
Hibs’ next three league games are against Livingston, St Mirren, and Dundee. Nine points from those matches is not unthinkable nor is it undoable, even if the prospect of a wintry trip to the Tony Macaroni Arena is a daunting one.
The message from the players and manager is one and the same: performances are good, results will come, we just have to believe.
Concerningly though, supporters are starting to lose faith. Easter Road, not so long ago a raucous arena with healthy crowds, has become a stadium of discontent.
Fans want results, so what happens next?
Performances and results
Jack Ross had a point when he said that performances have been good since the aberration against Dundee United and the meek showing against Aberdeen.
The first-half display at Hampden against Rangers was a clear indication of what this Hibs team is truly capable of. Parts of the 2-1 win at St Johnstone were also slick and polished.
Fans might well ask why they can’t do it every week but so much in football hinges on the elements of chance, and fortune – both good and bad.
An inch lower, and Josh Campbell might have been celebrating a first senior goal for Hibs against Motherwell. An inch to the left and Tony Watt’s strike could have cannoned back off the post rather than sneaking into the net.
All it takes is a shot to go in off someone’s shin, or for the ball to bounce a certain way.
Hibs can only control so much in their performances – if they keep creating chances, and work hard at the back to keep clean sheets then maybe lady luck might be a little kinder to the team.