Hibs 24h on
Updated Sunday, 9th February 2003
We managed to grind out a valuable three points against Hibs yesterday to keep the pressure on Dundee United. The football was not always pretty but we fought hard and there were some excellent individual performances.
The first mention has to go to Shaun Fagan. He has shown some ability in the past but all too often he has failed to make an impact on the game. His appearance ahead of Keith Lasley as a replacement for Scott Leitch raised eyebrows in the home stand but he rewarded Terry Butcher’s faith in him with an excellent performance. Along with the winning goal, he was comfortable on the ball and rarely misplaced his passes. With Leitch being injured again and Adams having a suspension looming, Shaun has a good chance to establish himself in the side.
However, while Fagan deserves a special mention, Adams and Pearson should be commended as well. Adams was all over the pitch and tackled everything – given Leitch’s early withdrawal this was vital. Pearson has been looking unsure of himself in recent matches but he looked more like his old self. His run and cross set up the first goal and it was his persistence on the wing that led to the free kick for our second.
The Clarkson and Craig combination has many doubters but few people can question the value of David Clarkson. He has only just turned eighteen but his general play often makes him look he is an experienced pro. In his five recent starts, he has won two penalties and scored two goals. That is an impressive return for any Motherwell striker and he will be a new hero if he can keep up that kind of return.
Perhaps the most concerning thing about yesterday was our eagerness to sit back at 2-0. Admittedly we defended well and had things under control for the most part but when Hibs scored out of the blue, we were left with a very tense last twenty minutes. The defence was looked solid partly due to Hibs being poor but also due to very composed play by the three centre backs. Partridge was at fault for the goal but that was the only mistake we made all day. Vaughan was unspectacular but efficient while Martyn Corrigan was again superb. He even managed to keep Paatalinen in check for most of the game, a not inconsiderable feat when you look at the size of the two players.
Dundee United managed a home draw with Dundee, which means we are off the bottom of the league, and with a game in hand. We may yet finish below United but for now, the fight is definitely on.