Opening day opposition being Dumbarton: If Hibs hold serious title ambitions they MUST start with a victory.
Anyone who looks at their football coupon prior to Saturday’s 3pm kick offs will probably fire a mark next to Hibs thinking they’re a surefire banker against Dumbarton.
Granted, it’s a game the Hibees should be winning, and comfortably so but as fans of the club will testify, we’ve got into the habit of shooting ourselves in the foot when set up as strong favourites for matches.
The stated aim of both back room and boardroom members of staff is the club is aiming for automatic promotion from the Ladbrokes Scottish Championship this season and if Alan Stubbs is to guide his side to glory then they simply must be able to go to places such as the Capital Insurance Direct Stadium (I personally preferred it when grounds weren’t sponsored so please change back to Boghead), and steamroller the opposition from the first minute.
Hibs finished last season 20 points behind Hearts who won the league at a canter yet the head to head between both clubs finished level (Hibs technically winning on aggregate!) and the Easter Road side had a superior record against Rangers who finished third.
The first quarter of season 2014/15 saw Hibs lose to the Jambo’s, Falkirk, Queen of the South and Alloa whilst drawing with Dumbarton and Raith Rovers and thus dropping an accumulative points total of 16 after a mere 9 matches.
From October to March, Hibs did show title winning form when they lost only one league match which in a six month period is fairly impressive but draws against Falkirk and Raith Rovers at Easter Road were poor results at the time and something that can be ill afforded this time around.
Following a 2-0 home defeat to Rangers in March, Hibs looked destined to throw a second place finish away after falling to defeats against Queen of the South and Raith Rovers making it three successive losses but did eventually edge out the Ibrox side who had to settle for third.
Of course it would be entirely unrealistic to suggest there wasn’t going to be the odd hiccup here or there but it would appear Rangers will be a far better, more organised outfit than the shambles they were under McCoist for the majority of last year so the simple truth is Alan Stubbs and his players have little margin for error over the course of the season.
Going to places such as Dumbarton, Alloa, Morton and last season’s bogey outfit Falkirk are all places it’s imperative Hibs take maximum points and when it comes to games against Rangers, an equal or better head to head points tally could prove crucial.
Here’s to season 2015/16- one which hopefully ends in promotion. As Champions!
In Depth: Hibs Championship Challengers
Dumbarton v Hibs Preview