Over the past few months Hibs fans have listened to what appears to be Groundhog Day style interviews with management and playing staff bemoaning the club’s apparent lack of luck.
There’s no doubt luck does play a part in any sporting success however when you’re on a run of 19 games without winning it’s not simply ‘bad luck’ which is preventing you from being victorious.
Hibs head west tonight to face Championship runners up Hamilton in the first leg of the Premiership play off and now is the time the players must take responsibility for their poor performances throughout the past four months and show the same spirit and endeavour as they did at the turn of the year in the Edinburgh Derby against Hearts.
Terry Butcher is well aware of the financial implications of relegation but the monetary side should come second place to having his players show professional pride in their performance and ensuring Hibs are indeed a top flight side again next season.
We’ve heard the ‘sticking our chests out’ chat from various players in the last couple of months but it’s about time, rather than talk a good game the squad pulled together, grabbed a siege mentality and actually produced the goods on the park.
With the largest playing budget in the Premiership out with Aberdeen and Celtic, Hibernian shouldn’t be finding themselves in a relegation battle – especially when you consider the club were sitting fifth at the time of Pat Fenlon’s resignation in November.
There is blame to be distributed on all sides however recriminations can wait until the season ends and then hopefully with the appointment of new CEO Leeann Dempster, a wind of change can breeze through the club.
Hibs have to look at the higher earners this evening to produce the goods.
Ben Williams, whilst being the best keeper at Easter Road in years, has never fully recaptured his stunning form of last season. Michael Nelson is another who’s had a torrid time of it this campaign but the big centre half was decent enough against Killie last time out and needs a repeat performance.
Ryan McGivern was signed permanently last summer from Manchester City but has been a shadow of his former self and needs to take more responsibility, particularly when distributing the ball from deep.
Liam Craig in his St Johnstone days was arguably one of the best midfielders in the Premiership but has yet to show the same standard during his time in Leith – tonight is the perfect time to shut his critics up.
Up front neither James Collins nor Paul Heffernan have set the heather alight. Collins has to start showing the type of form that persuaded Rod Petrie to part with cash last summer whilst Heffernan, blighted by injuries in his time at the club, has never appeared fully fit.
New Douglas Park’s artificial pitch will give the home side a slight playing advantage but Hibs should be more than capable of playing on the surface having spent the past three days using Spartans facilities.
There’s no excuse for Hibs not performing tonight. The fans expect a performance. They deserve a performance. It really is time to stick the chests out and show the rest of Scottish football what they can really do. Play with passion, desire and commitment – any less is not acceptable.
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