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  1. #1
    Old Codger Hibstorian Jonnyboy's Avatar
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    This is how it feels (Ross County 12 02 2020)

    A couple of surprises greeted Hibs fans as they arrived at Easter Road tonight and heard the team news. Firstly, Lewis Stevenson was omitted completely whilst Jack Ross decided to set up a 3-5-2 formation with Boyle and Newell as the wide men. In fact there were other changes to the eleven that started against BSC as Jackson, Allan, Newell and Slivka came in whilst Horgan and Omeonga had to be content with a place on the bench with Whittaker dropping out altogether.

    The formation was one which many dot netters had been suggesting and to a large extent it worked very well, matching as it did the formation of Ross County. McGinn and Hanlon flanked Jackson; Allan, Docherty and Slivka played centrally with Doidge and McNulty up front.

    For once Hibs started the game briskly and both Boyle and Doidge were in with half chances before the hosts took the lead inside of ten minutes. A wonderful Scott Allan pass was arrowed behind a retreating County defender and as keeper Baxter rushed from his goal, McNulty coolly stroked the ball past him and into an empty net.

    To their credit the visitors played an open game and tested Marciano who saved well from Vigurs before McKay shot high over the bar when hitting the target looked easier. I was impressed by Hibs when out of possession as Boyle and Newell stayed firm in their defensive duties whilst the back three also defended very well.

    A few near things offered the promise of a second goal for Hibs and that arrived around five minutes from the break. Newell took a corner from the left and Doidge lost his marker before throwing himself full length to glance a low header beyond Baxter. It had the look of a training ground goal although I suspect the ball arrived on a lower trajectory than intended, meaning Doidge had to go with his head rather than a foot. Either way it was a fine goal, well taken with a good assist from Newell whose delivery of a dead ball is more often than not of great quality.

    County came out for the second half displaying more purpose in their play and for a while they enjoyed better possession than their hosts. As fans we let our anxiety be known but Hibs stood firm and the sterling work of Docherty and Slivka in midfield helped close any gaps that might have appeared. Still, good and crucial tackles by Hanlon and then Jackson stopped County from gaining a clear sight of goal.

    I think Jack Ross deserves some credit here as the tiring Slivka and Allan were replaced by Murray and Omeonga around the seventy five minute mark with the new guys helping Hibs back on to the front foot. These changes paid off as Hibs pushed forward and County conceded a penalty about ten minutes from time. It was as blatant a hand ball as you are likely to see and referee McLean pointed to the spot immediately. With Scott Allan off the park, McNulty stepped forward but although his effort seemed to be struck well enough, Baxter dived full length to his left to push the ball around the post. Newell delivered another fine corner and Jackson rose highest to bullet a header home and clinch the points in the process.

    Going back to the 3-5-2 formation I’d argue it worked very well as vouched for by the keeping of a clean sheet. I’d stress though that our midfield played no small part in that as the energy of Docherty, the spoiling play of Slivka and the willingness to work of Scott Allan were key to the outcome.

    The players

    Marciano – Rocky had one excellent save in the first half but was largely untroubled throughout. On a couple of occasions he came out to clear by foot and if I have a gripe it’s that he still seems unwilling to come for high balls when collecting them would take pressure off the defenders.

    McGinn – Paul may not have the skill or swagger of his younger brother but what he does do is bring solidity to that side of the defence. He is often unhurried and seems very comfortable in possession.

    Jackson – I thought Adam had a fine game, dealing with the physicality of Erwin and the trickery of McKay without very much bother at all. He is excellent in the air both in his principal job as a defender and a threat to the opposition goal at set pieces.

    Hanlon – Once again Paul had a fine game and though many, including me, have been a tad disappointed in his form of late I feel he is slowly but surely getting back to his best. I lost count of the number of times he foiled attacks thanks to his excellent ability at reading the game.

    Boyle – Poor Martin was kicked up and down all night long and his threat to opposition defenders is perhaps summed up by the fact that three County players were booked for chopping him down. I was enthused by his defensive work too and although he doesn’t always get it right he still comes back for more.

    Slivka – Viki seemed to be handed the role fulfilled to good effect by Whittaker against BSC and he made a good job of it in my view. It can be a bit of a thankless task at times, breaking up play and simply allowing his more creative midfield colleagues to make the telling passes that everyone admires.

    Docherty – It’s a sin that Greg spent so much time not getting to play at his parent club as in his short time at Hibs he has proved what a super player he is. I like that he is given license to roam as it were and he covered some miles tonight whilst bringing great energy and creativeness to the party. He had some rivals tonight but on reflection I’m giving him my man of the match award.

    Allan – Scotty expends some amount of energy and his passing ability can be legendary, as witnessed by his wonderful through ball for the opening goal. There were a couple of other occasions that he was inches away from a ‘worldy’ and I’m certain he will form a potent partnership with McNulty whose movement is excellent.

    Newell – I’ll be honest and say I worried at the thought of Joe playing out wide because he would be less effective than playing more centrally. I needn’t have worried though as he performed the wingback role very well and can boast two assists for tonight.

    Doidge – Christian is not everybody’s cup of tea; I get that but when your striker has scored sixteen goals by mid-February you can hardly complain, although I’m sure some will. Once again he worked his socks off and he’s a real asset in helping defend corners and lofted free kicks into our box.

    McNulty – Marc’s movement and finish for the opening goal was hugely impressive. In fact his movement throughout the whole game was impressive and I’m sure the 85 minutes he got tonight will stand him in good stead in the coming weeks.

    Murray – Fraser was an excellent addition to a midfield that was beginning to flag and will surely have impressed Jack Ross with his fifteen minute cameo when he worked hard, created well and was unlucky not to score.

    Omeonga – As I said earlier, Stephane brought energy and drive to a flagging midfield and his impressive ability to nick the ball off of opponents toes was just what Hibs needed at that stage of the game as it stopped County getting into dangerous areas.

    Gullan – Hammer only got the last few minutes and with Hibs 3-0 up and seeing out the game he had no real opportunity to get involved.

    Jack Ross – I heard his post-match interview and was pleased that he recognised the work put into the game set against the number of matches already crammed in to a ridiculous fixture schedule.

    The fans – A valiant effort by the fans in the FF Upper was appreciated but I have to say the atmosphere tonight was pretty dead.

    Steven McLean – Had a better game than I’ve seen from him of late but he was far too lenient with Vigurs who seemed intent on smashing in to Boyler at every opportunity.
    This is how it feels


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  3. #2
    Still solvent banchoryhibs's Avatar
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    Excellent summary again Jonnyboy,
    I was delighted to see Doidge scoring tonight as he put in a great shift and Boyler scared the life out of them every time he raced down that wing. I really enjoyed the game

  4. #3
    Great summary.

  5. #4
    @hibs.net private member BILLYHIBS's Avatar
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    Brilliant summary once again Jonnyboy

    Got to be happy with a 3-0 win

    Just a pity Livvy Killie and St Johnstone also won

    Jackson starting to look solid reliable composed on the ball and a threat at set pieces

    Docherty never wastes a ball ( get him signed HIBS)

    Boyle took some punishment

    Rocky kicking still shocking should command his box more

    McNulty normally a composed finisher but that is the last two penalties he has missed for us

    Got to be happy with a 3-0 win
    Last edited by BILLYHIBS; 13-02-2020 at 12:13 AM.

  6. #5
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    I thought that Slivka was man of the match.

    Often I have watched him play and thought that he was really unsure what he was supposed to be doing.

    Tonight he was on it. Got his positioning spot on. Calm and tidy with the ball. Broke up their attacks and then moved the ball forward quickly. Bossed the game.

    All the players looked brave on the ball. Even when they were given the ball in a tight situation there was no panic. Teammates worked hard to make options for them.

    It didn't always click tonight but we still won 3 nil.

    When it does then someone is in for a thumping.

  7. #6
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    Thank you, these summaries are so balanced.

  8. #7
    @hibs.net private member PeeJay's Avatar
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    Good summary as ever - good to see you giving Slivka his dues, thought he did very well last night as did the whole team actually ... really enjoyable game
    .... Die spinnen, die Briten ....

  9. #8
    Anybody else think Fraser Murray has bulked up? Looks a lot bigger. Thought he was great when he came on

  10. #9
    Another enjoyable game.

    Remember all those awful dull games from Hecky!!

    The balance of the team was good tonight - front players movement at times very impressive.

    Weird seeing the team without the legend of Lewis but McGinn and Jackson impressed. McGinn settled in so quickly - good signing.

    Midfield has more bite now - Docherty really adds that and like PM has settled in well and even showing leadership with demanding the ball and pointing others about. Lots of discussion about him but even another season loan wouldn’t be the worst idea.

    Boyle at times unplayable / final ball just needs to be better but love the guy.

    Mcnulty and Doidge - definitely better than the partnership with Flo already.

    Liked how we had a few options off bench too.

    Fans cold!!! But got got behind team after goals. I really don’t mind where the singing section moves to - just somewhere it can be heard as in the East we don’t hear it !!

    Sunday tough game but I don’t think we will lose. Jack Ross is building a solid team and delighted he’s here.

  11. #10
    Though Slivka was immense

  12. #11
    @hibs.net private member blackpoolhibs's Avatar
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    Loved Boyle and Docherty last night, and some of the football was a joy.

    I must say though, i thought County were as bad a team as i've seen this season, and it would not surprise me if they were dragged into a relegation fight.

    We will always score goals though against anyone, our forward play at times is very good, which does at times leave us short at the back, but like most i think i'd rather watch us win 5-4 than 1-0 or even draw games.

    I like Ross, i feel the corner is turned under him, and i'm quite excited about what he will achieve in the future with his players.

  13. #12
    Testimonial Due The Harp Awakes's Avatar
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    Spot on with the summary JB

    The signings of Omeonga, Docherty and McNulty in January have improved the team massively and the recruitment team deserve huge credit for that. Pity they are all on short term deals. I think Hibs should do everything they can to keep these 3 on long term deals come the end of the season, as it would go a long way to having success next season.

  14. #13
    Ultimate Slaver Keith_M's Avatar
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    The 3-5-2 was actually my suggestion.

    Very happy to see JR is paying attention to my posts.

    🙂

  15. #14
    @hibs.net private member greenlex's Avatar
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    👍

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by blackpoolhibs View Post
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    Loved Boyle and Docherty last night, and some of the football was a joy.

    I must say though, i thought County were as bad a team as i've seen this season, and it would not surprise me if they were dragged into a relegation fight.

    We will always score goals though against anyone, our forward play at times is very good, which does at times leave us short at the back, but like most i think i'd rather watch us win 5-4 than 1-0 or even draw games.

    I like Ross, i feel the corner is turned under him, and i'm quite excited about what he will achieve in the future with his players.
    I didn't think Ross County were that bad. They looked like they wanted to get the call down and play at times. They will be safe imo

  17. #16
    Coaching Staff MWHIBBIES's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Since452 View Post
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    Though Slivka was immense
    He definitely was.

  18. #17
    Testimonial Due number9dream's Avatar
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    Lots of positives, with Slivka reminding us that he's definitely got something, Boyle buzzing around near his best, Docherty impressing with his energy and Newell once again showing his adaptability and dead ball skills.
    Murray looked good in his cameo too.
    It has to be acknowledged that County were a bit of a shambles at the back. There can't be many slower defenders in the league than Fonts & Watson.
    Good to see some real depth in the squad and players comfortable with different formations.
    Sunday at Kilmarnock will be totally different, playing a team in good spirits with the weather forecast every bit as bad as last weekend.

  19. #18
    Enjoyable game. A better opposition might have taken advantage during their stronger periods, but did our part well and 5-0 would not have flattered us. The subs could have happened a littler earlier for me, but they worked well. The three most recent additions to the squad look very much at home in their respective positions and assuming they continue to click and gel we have reasons to be optimistic.

    I just wish Boyle would take a chance from distance , he absolutely earned the right to try a Mallan a few times. We were up and no one could have grudged him. With Doidge and Sparky trying to pick up rebounds definitely worth a pop.

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