Christian Doidge glad to put Hibs goal drought behind him as perseverance finally pays off for striker

Christian Doidge’s first goal in 16 games all-but sealed Hibs’ first top three finish in 16 years.

The Welshman’s long-awaited strike was enough to secure Jack Ross’ men a draw against Livingston and, coupled with fourth-placed Aberdeen losing elsewhere, stretched their advantage to a virtually unassailable seven points with just five games against the league’s top teams remaining.

It means that as they head into the international break, there is plenty for Hibs to be happy about.

While some of the players are off earning international recognition, there is plenty to focus the minds of those left behind, according to Doidge, whose unselfish play throughout his goal drought epitomises the common purpose within this small but unified Hibs squad.

Hibs manager Jack Ross remained happy with Christian Doidge's all-round contribution despite the striker's goal drought. Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group

“We have moved a little bit closer to securing third place but there are a few games to go yet so we can’t get too excited. The manager would never let us do that. We are back into training on Monday and back to the hard graft.”

That determination to keep working away in the belief that targets will be met saw the 28-year-old get his reward in the 41st minute of Saturday’s match.

“Obviously, as a centre forward, you want to score goals every week and I have been on a run where I haven’t but the gaffer puts faith in me. He knows that even when I’m not scoring goals I am contributing to the team and, for me, that’s the most important thing.

“But it was really nice to get a goal and help the boys get the point.”

That 41st minute strike was the necessary response to their hosts’ opening the scoring in the 28th minute when Craig Sibbald pounced on Ryan Porteous’ weak headed back pass and slammed it past Ofir Marciano.

In that first half, the West Lothian side had been pickpocketing Hibs all over the park as they pressed them hard. On top at that stage, David Martindale’s men will have been frustrated to head in at the break with the scoreline level. But it gave Hibs the platform for an improved second-half showing and Doidge will consider himself unfortunate not to have doubled his tally as he met Martin Boyle’s ball into the six-yard box only to have Nicky Devlin produce a last-gasp block.

For Doidge, that interception summed up why goals have been hard to come by since mid-December.

“Obviously, when you step off the pitch you are disappointed, especially if you’ve missed good chances but I have been on goal droughts before in my career, many times. Every centre forward goes through them.

“You’ve just got to keep getting in the right positions. I’m very good at getting in those positions but sometimes it just doesn’t drop for you or the ball just doesnt go in the back of the net. So, it has been disappointing. Some of my finishes haven’t been great, some of the keepers have pulled off nice saves, but I had to just keep pushing forward. You have to persevere.

“This was probably the longest I have gone so it was nice to bring that to an end. I still have games left and we are in a good position to get third place so we just need to keep pushing.”

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