The old football dictum of two-nil being a precarious lead was reinforced at Easter Road as Hibernian allowed Dundee to stage a rousing comeback in Saturday’s stalemate.
One swing of Kenny Miller’s leg in first-half injury-time had profound effects. Not only did it sap the confidence of the hosts and lead to the players being narky at the interval, it simultaneously emboldened a Dark Blues team who, until that point, were in grave danger of being on the wrong end of a mauling.
The hosts were flying after 30 minutes, a Genseric Kusunga own goal and Ryan Porteous header giving Neil Lennon’s side a commanding lead.
However, attacking midfielder Daryl Horgan recognises that it was familiar shortcomings that ultimately undid all that good work.
A failure to add to their advantage and a fragility in defence ensured Hibs’ winless run extended to five matches after Paul McGowan curled in the equaliser two minutes after the break.
“Two-one is a completely different game to two-nil,” said Republic of Ireland cap Horgan. “They get a bit life and it changes both team talks.
“They go in buzzing. We’ve dominated 44 minutes of the game but we’re going in with our heads down, fuming with each other.
“We got off to such a good start. It was two pivotal moments – don’t concede in the last five minutes, don’t concede the first five minutes.
“Mistakes cost us. If you don’t take the chances, the game changes. We were sloppy in the second half, it just wasn’t good enough – it’s poor. It’s a kick in the stones really, it’s a sore one to take.”
Horgan’s performance at the apex of a midfield diamond was part of the reason Hibs were so dominant, but he took no solace from his display. “I thought I did all right, but we didn’t win the game so it didn’t really matter,” he added. “We have a massive game next week [away to Kilmarnock] now and need to take three points there.”
It has been a season of crushing lows for Dundee but midfielder McGowan admits the players rediscovered their enjoyment of football at Easter Road. He said: “We enjoyed that game on Saturday. There’s not many times we could say that we’ve enjoyed playing this season but I enjoyed that.
“The fans went home happy after watching us come back from 2-0 down.
“The lows have been very low. There’s no getting away from it that some of our performances have been way off it for a professional football team. We get paid good money to play football but we’ve been miles off it.”
McGowan admits Dundee were lambs to the slaughter before the Miller goal sparked a revival.
He added: “We showed great character. I don’t think anyone would have given us a chance at 2-0 down.
“It could have been a doing but we were actually playing quite well and the draw was deserved.”