Heid Up,Daizen. Nae Panic.
Prior to our return to league duty after the World Cup,I stated that I would be a very happy bunny indeed if we welcomed 2023 with a 100% record during that period of 15/15 points. Especially given as there were no givens in the schedule we faced.
So far,a rather pleasant and warm glow of 12/12,though seldom without some difficulty. Last night was no exception,as anticipated beforehand. I’ve been to Easter Road on many an occasion,and there have rarely been any straightforward victories. Probably the exception to that rule was about 2004 when we beat them 4-0 in a Sunday match,and I think Stephen McManus made his debut at left back that day. I remember Agathe scoring twice,and running them ragged all day. Henrik also hit two,no idea what the rest of the players were up to though. Probably wondering how to explain not being available for Mothers’ Day..
Despite all that,I think I’ve only seen us lose once there. 4-1 in Jock’s last season,a match which epitomised our season that year,where everything that could go wrong damned well did. And for maybe the first ten minutes,Hibs did their level best to take the game right to us again.
In fact,they even scored! But not even Alan Muir could ignore the obvious offside,though it showed up some early laxity in defence and midfield. That was as far as they got,though to give them their dues they never stopped trying. But they were up against a juggernaut on the night.
It was a strange amalgam of performances though. Taylor looked off the pace,but Maeda,on the same side,was right on it. Hatate,again in the right back role,was tremendous,but his partnership on the right was non-existent with a misfiring Abada. CalMac and Mooy in midfield excelled,yet O’Riley is still searching for that missing mojo following the break.
As an example,Matt had a casual swing with his favoured left foot from close range,similar to his effort on Saturday. Two months ago,he would have burst the net both times. And I’m maybe being a bit harsh on GT,as it was his excellent pass which led to our third.
But to the goals. Maeda was relentless all night,his pace is wicked,and few can stop him when he is in full flow. His low cross in the box fell to Mooy about eight yards out,and a controlled volley was just the thing to settle the nerves. Maeda had a chance himself shortly afterwards,and after that managed to miss a bloody sitter!
Keep the heid up,son. Nae panic,it’ll come. And while most of the fans were still in full grumble mood with him,exactly that followed. His trademark pace,a couple of players peeling wide and taking defenders with them,and all of a sudden there is an opening for a shot from about twenty yards.
A right foot curler to the corner left Marshall with no chance. A peach of a player,and a peach of a goal. The Irvine No 1 CSC erupted!
He was a vital factor too in our third,with a run and cross leading to a clear as day handball penalty that even Muir couldn’t turn down. Mooy calmly converted,past a keeper with a decent penalty save ratio. But Muir soon got his own back,denying an absolute stonewaller when that man Maeda got clattered in the box after yet another lung-bursting run. The offence was so bloody obvious that the Hibs defender claimed it happened outside the box rather than claim that it wasn’t a penalty!
Muir saved him the bother,and saved some time by ignoring the directive about VAR and penalty decisions. All that was left then was for Hatate and Kyogo to rub it in a few minutes later,the first with a superb pass,the latter with a cool piece of control and finish.
This was no easy task,nor one to be taken lightly. That we emerged with a comfortable three points does us considerable credit,for Hibs were a team looking to give us a game. And for periods of the match,they did just that. But we are looking as though we are hitting gear after a ropey introduction to the restart,and I can only hope that it continues.
Above article by BMCUWP