Hibs face Dumbarton this weekend hoping to avoid a potential banana skin whilst nearest challengers Dundee Utd aim to recover from two defeats on the bounce
Following on from last Friday’s fine performance against Dundee United, Hibs travel to Dumbarton hoping to continue in the same vein of form but recent visits to the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium tell us this is a venue where points will have to be earned rather than handed out for free.
Sons, managed by Steven Aitken have built up a formidable record at home with only 1 serious humbling by Ayr United blemishing a record which has seen them dispose of Dundee United on two occasions, beat Falkirk and draw with Raith Rovers.
The previous meeting with Hibs took place back in September and although Neil Lennon’s men recorded a 1-0 victory and dominated possession it took a Jason Cummings penalty to separate the sides.
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Indeed, this weekend could ultimately prove pivotal in the race for the title with nearest challengers United facing a mini crisis after two straight defeats saw them not only surrender top spot but fall four points adrift of Hibs. Add into the mix they face a Queen of the South side bolstered by new recruits Joe Thomson & John Rankin who recorded a fine 3-0 win away to St Mirren in their last match then you have to say the Arab’s fixture is far from a “gimme.”
United struggled with the conditions on the west coast on Hogmanay with a strong wind making it difficult for any type of free flowing football so Saturday’s forecast of relative calm but cold should aid Hibs as they aim to keep a stranglehold on their challengers.
Truth be told Hibs have dropped too many points to teams they’re expected to beat throughout the three seasons they’ve plied their trade in the second tier but need to keep focused as prospective Champions simply need to record victories away from home against weaker teams.
Chris Humphrey impressed on debut last week but it was always going to be easier in front of a sellout crowd at Easter Road than in front of 2000 at one stand Dumbarton but there’s no doubt he can hold the key to unlocking packed defences with his lightening pace whereas previous incarnations of this side have struggled against such tactics.
With Humphrey and Martin Boyle both adding the width and pace so badly needed in this league it was no surprise to see Jason Cummings net a brace after picking pockets of space against a stretched back line and here’s hoping its a glimpse to the remainder of the season with Hibs continuing to score at a comfortable rate whilst generally looking untroubled in the middle of the park or defensively.
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