Dundee United have been unrelenting in their chase to usurp Hibernian at the top of the Championship but now that they have reached the summit, their rivals are waiting to see how they handle the extra pressure.
Neil Lennon’s men had led the league table since 15 October but two successive draws, against Morton and Raith Rovers, gave United the opportunity to move above them. They grabbed it with both hands on Christmas Eve with a win over St Mirren.
But while Hibs midfielder Dylan McGeouch praised his rivals’ consistency, he said Ray McKinnon’s men would now face a different challenge.
“You have to take your hat off to them, they are winning games, they are doing well,” he said. “We have been top for a while, they’ve been on our tails and we’ve been looking over our shoulder but now it’s reversed. But there’s not a lot in it, it’s not as if there’s a big gap. It’s only a game and we have them at home in a few weeks when we’ll be looking to put that right.
“It might add a little difference to them being top and having to keep that consistency. Only time will tell in the next few weeks.”
Finding a way to be more clinical in front of goal while staying tight at the back is the quandary facing Hibs now and McGeouch said much of that will come down to the team strengthening their winning mentality.
“That’s the key. It’s part of football. If we are creating so much and it doesn’t go in teams always get a chance in a game,” he said. “We shouldn’t be behind the way we’re playing. But if we weren’t playing well or not creating chances we’d worry big time but we’re creating a number of attempts on goal. But we can’t shy away and make excuses. As a team we need to be taking the chances. We know performances are there so get that bit right and we’ll cause problems.”
Next up is a tricky trip to Falkirk on Saturday but a win would ensure they are within striking distance of United when they come face to face at Easter Road on 6 January.
McGeouch added: “We need to keep an eye on other teams about us but if we get it right it will take a lot to stop us.”