After last week’s horror show, I travelled to Dens Park convinced that things could only get better and I wasn’t disappointed. We were superb for large parts of the game and did more than enough to win it but were often let down by the final pass or kept out by some excellent goalkeeping.
It’s been a long while since we changed our starting eleven by replacing those starters without weakening the team in any regard. Whitty was utilised at left back, replacing Lewis who was on the bench along with Ambrose and McGeouch with no sign of Danny Swanson at all. Gray, Bartley and Barker all started with Hibs operating a standard 4-4-2.
Early exchanges were relatively even but after just nine minutes, Roarie Deacon skinned Whitty in the box with the Hibs man’s challenge being deemed a penalty by Don Robertson. I’ll be honest and admit I thought it a penalty too but learned later on that contact was minimal and that Deacon effectively dived. That opinion was offered up by the much maligned Richard Gordon on Sportsound although to be fair I’ve paraphrased him! After Kevin Holt scored, with Rocky very nearly saving the effort, Hibs stepped up the pace with Scott Bain in the Dundee goal producing a string of fine saves to deny Barker on three occasions. The young Man City loanee looks the part and it was his give and go that allowed Whitty to fire a ball into the Dundee near post area. From my distance away it looked like a stunning flick from Stokes that saw the ball hit the net but apparently it deflected off a Dundee defender to beat Bain.
The second half was pretty much all Hibs although I felt that when Dundee made a change, resulting in Scott Allan being moved into the centre of midfield the home side were a bit more threatening, especially from dead ball situations. Allan was roundly booed by some of the Hibs support and although I kinda understand why I do think it all came across as a bit juvenile. It was a Scott Allan moment that witnessed the Hibs support loudly claiming a penalty when a Stokes ball aimed at Murray was deflected beyond the Hibs man by an arm held in an ‘unusual’ position. Don Robertson had a clear view and waved all claims aside. As the game neared its close, Bain saved again from Bartley and Barker while the keeper was involved in a bizarre incident that resulted in Stokes being booked. The keeper had collected the ball and thrown it out to a team mate when Stokes, who had gone beyond the keeper into the six yard box, made to sprint to close the defender down. Bain clearly looked over his shoulder and backed into the advancing Stokes, ending up on the ground after the collision. Stokes may have been a bit daft for his part in it but Bain really needs to look at his actions in getting an opponent booked.
Rocky – I honestly can’t remember him having any save of note to make. He was really unlucky not to save the penalty, diving the right way but beaten by the pace of the ball.
SDG – not one of his better games in my opinion. I’m not sure why but he always gives me the impression he is carrying an injury while his rare deliveries into the box were poor.
Daz – Only lasted the first half but I wasn’t aware of him picking up an injury. I know he ‘never gives the ball away’ but he’s the last player we should be passing to when he’s in a tight situation. Still love him to bits, mind!
Paul – Never put a foot wrong and after last week’s aberration he was as solid as a rock.
Whitty – Proved he can play left back but was naïve diving in for the penalty.
Slivka – A class act and getting better with each game. He came very close to being voted my man of the match.
SJM – I’m not sure if the transfer speculation was playing on his mind but he had a strange game in which he was brilliant at times and awful at others. John gave the ball away far more than I’ve ever seen him do before.
Big Marv – My man of the match and I thought he was immense in midfield, bossing Vincent and McGowan and almost scoring his first competitive goal since Adam was a boy.
BB – The laddie is a player, of that there can be no doubt. Sure he made a few bad decisions and he should have scored when clean through but you have to remember how little football he’s played recently.
Simon – Two games now without a goal but I’m confident he’ll find the net again soon. Still makes brilliant runs and should have scored but he never lets his head go down.
Stokesy – Burst into life right from the off. He was as prominent a contributor this week as he was anonymous last week. Made one belter of a tackle, on Scott Allan and that was very well received by the 1500 plus Hibees at the game.
Efe – After forgetting to pack them in his boot bag last week, Efe was back to a pipe and slippers display for the entire second half.
Fraser – I like this laddie, he’s very composed on the ball and finds space well although he had a great chance to score at the death but rushed his shot and didn’t connect well enough.
Dylan – Only got 15 minutes, during which he was his usual self in trying to start good moves. Sadly, 15 minutes just wasn’t long enough to allow him to influence the game.
The Gaffer – Neil got a rapturous reception from the Hibs fans when he appeared at the start of the game. I like to think it’s because we’ve bought into his philosophy of having his players dictate the game. I know they didn’t do that against Hamilton but I believe that today’s performance simply proves that was a blip. I admit though that I found the replacement of Simon Murray with his namesake Fraser a bit odd. After all, we were chasing a winner but removed our top scorer.
The fans – More than 1,500 made the trip which is excellent for a Sunday lunchtime kick off and the game being live on Sky. Well done to every one of you for roaring the team on as they chased a winner.
Don Robertson – I thought he was very inconsistent throughout and missed what was an obvious penalty. One example of his inconsistency was when McGinn stopped and turned quickly with a defender alongside him. That movement caused McGinn to be impeded and we lost possession as a result but no free kick was given. When exactly the same scenario occurred and Bartley was the defender, Robertson awarded Dundee a free kick. We all know that refereeing is not an easy job but inconsistencies, in the same match, simply cause fans to castigate the men with the whistle. In other words, at times they make life difficult for themselves.
Finally, no Hibs for two weeks because Scotland are no doubt going to be heading for yet another glorious failure. The sooner that campaign is over, the better for my money.
Can't disagree with much of that JB
Slivka is a top talent, just wish he'd play at a quicker tempo, and be a bit more greedy in front of goal for me!
My daughter kept saying every time McGinn got the ball he gave it away, have to agree with that
Came disappointed with the result, not the performance
Wonder if Lennon will give a game to the likes of Boyle etc in the 20's game on Tuesday