HIBERNIAN’S troubled start to the season continued with an insipid display in Dumfries, leaving Alan Stubbs’ side fourth bottom of the Championship.
Scorers: Queen of the South - McShane 29
A first-half strike by Ian McShane maintained Queens’ unbeaten home league record this term and further enhanced James Fowler’s credentials for the manger’s post at Palmerston on a permanent basis.
The Doonhamers have only lost once in the league so far this season, going down 4-2 to Rangers at Ibrox. It is form which has them in the play-off positons.
“I’m planning to speak to the board later this week and we will we how we get on,” Fowler said. “Four points from two games and I know the group well – hopefully I get the nod. I know there is a lot of interest, but hopefully I’ve shown enough I’m ready for this role.”
Yesterday was the first time that these two clubs had met in the league for 50 years, In the intervening time, Hibs have been relegated on three occasions, bouncing back as champions each time. If they are to achieve a hat-trick of titles then Stubbs’ outfit are going to have to find a consistency and confidence which so far this term has escaped them, particularly in this match.
The hosts took just three minutes to threaten when a long ball by goalkeeper Zander Clark was headed on by Andy Dowie, but Gavin Reilly’s 18-yard volley was well held by Hibs keeper Mark Oxley.
The Easter Road men passed up a glorious opportunity to edge ahead in seven minutes when a dreadful error in midfield by Fowler let Jake Sinclair thread the ball through to Matthew Kennedy. However, Clark stayed focused and blocked brilliantly with his legs.
Queens should have gone ahead in 28 minutes. McShane swung over a free-kick from the left which was knocked on by Reilly, but Dowie, unmarked, blasted over.
One minute later though, there was to be no reprieve for Hibs. Scott Robertson was robbed of possession and when Gavin Reilly cut the ball back from the left-hand side, McShane finished past Oxley. “I was delighted for McShane, he should be scoring more goals from midfield,” Fowler said of the player who ended up being the match-winner.
Hibs appeared bereft of ideas after going behind, but on 59 minutes Kennedy drove over a cross from the left to Paul Hanlon, whose flashing near-post header went just over.
That chance offered a glimmer of hope for the Edinburgh side, who brought on Jason Cummings for the out-of-sorts Sinclair, and the switch almost paid dividends when the sub linked well with Lewis Stevenson in 67 minutes before pulling his shot wide of the mark.
Queen’s should have wrapped up the victory ten minutes from time when Russell somehow managed to head over the bar from six yards after the Hibs defence was again badly exposed on the counter attack.
A dejected Stubbs said: “I felt when we had opportunities, that final ball was lacking. We need to work harder all over the pitch. It’s not just the guys up front – we’ve all got to improve. We need to do the right things and the more often we do the more often we will get it right.
“There is a responsibility on us to win more games. The players need to step up and realise teams are going to get ten men behind the ball. We must show we have the quality to break them down.”
Conversely, Fowler was delighted with his team’s display. “We had a game plan and stuck to it,” he said. “I don’t think they had many clear cut chances and we defended great.”