Preview - Hibs (a)

Last updated : 25 January 2007 By Firparkcorner

Lasley will be missed
Without wanting to be too negative, taking anything from Easter Road will require an absolutely top-drawer performance from us. For some reason, although we can cope, to a certain degree, with the other top six sides, Hibs have more often than not given us a beating in recent times. It is not just that they edge us out narrowly like Rangers do so often at present but they dismantle us with clinical, quick, passing football. Have we learned anything from our recent humblings at their hands?

We should have done. When Terry Butcher changed to a 4-5-1 to combat them at the end of last season we pretty much dominated and should have won. This year we have played a 4-4-2 and got gubbed. Surely it cannot be that simple? Hibs certainly have bad days as well as good, so perhaps we have just been unlucky in them hitting us on form.

But it is hard to believe Falkirk can have taken 4 points from them this season, St Mirren 3 and even Inverness thrashed them 3-0 last week in taking their own tally to 4 from the Leith men this season while we get nothing but doings. Hibs playing poorly will certainly give us a chance but we need to help ourselves. Our cause will be advanced no end by having a much-improved side out against them than the one that was ravaged in November. It is hard to imagine Corrigan being embarrassed quite as badly as Quinn was or Murphy not simply eliminating his man with a fearsome challenge should the going begin to look too tough. While it may not be pretty, if we can indulge in some cynical gamesmanship there is every indication that they can be put off their game and then we can look to capitalise.

Paterson and Clarkson will finally get to serve their suspensions and the absence of the latter may help us switch to a 4-5-1. Fitzpatrick can return in place of Clarkson from his own ban and just slot into midfield. Foran on the left and whoever plays on the right, Molloy or Smith, can support McDonald up front and even McGarry is not without some attacking promise. He struggled in the midfield duo against Airdrie but he might be able to cope as part of a three. McBride could be another alternative but while there are questions over what exactly we should do, there is little debate that something different must be done. We simply aren't good enough to play 4-4-2 against this Hibs side.

Will Maurice have a cunning plan? We will wait and see. At the end of 90 minutes we might have lost 2-1 but the boys will have given everything and you can't ask for more than that.

Remember the last time at Easter Road?