Jake Doyle-Hayes on where Hibs 'dominated' Celtic as midfielder backs Kevin Nisbet

Bloodied but unbowed pretty much seems to sum up the Hibs’ reaction to their 2-0 defeat at Celtic Park the other night.

Hibs midfielder Jake Doyle-Hayes challenges Tom Rogic during the defeat at Celtic Park on Monday (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

It is certainly the attitude the Leith club’s midfielder Jake Doyle-Hayes is taking over a defeat in which he believes Shaun Maloney’s men showed certain distinctions. Enough worthy elements, in fact, to believe that while they lick their wounds, the Easter Road side can polish these up to make a real push to be puckering up beside silverware come May.

That requires seeing off Cove Rangers at home in Thursday’s Scottish Cup fourth round tie. Ahead of that, there is no sense that the Maloney revamp has been derailed by a first loss subsequent to two wins. It remains early days, Doyle-Hayes petitions. But in one sense the new manager’s imprint was recognisable in Hibs becoming the first Scottish club to retain more possession than Postecoglou’s team in any domestic game this season.

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“It was a tough one to take,” said Doyle-Hayes because of that fact. “I thought we dominated the ball for long spells, which is what the manager is wanting from us. We are still learning what he wants, but we had a bit of time with him in the winter break and I think we played in stages against Celtic. He wants us to take the ball under pressure, to trust ourselves and trust other players. Everyone did that against Celtic and that’s a tough place to do it. If you can do it there, you can do it anywhere. We do it on the training pitch every day and you can see we have the players in the squad. We’ll just keep pushing on in training.

“We need to create more chances in the coming weeks and I think we will do that. We trust everyone in the squad in the changing room and trust ourselves to match teams like Celtic. Even the boys coming off the bench, everyone is putting in a shift. When Celtic had the ball, we worked really hard.”

Success and failure at Parkhead has been boiled down to Kevin Nisbet missing a pinch when hitting the post from a couple of yards out in the third minute…which gave way to Daizen Maeda giving the home side the lead a minute later. While Doyle-Hayes accepts converting the glaring opportunity might have changed the complexion of the encounter, he believes no football team can pin all their scoring hopes on a solitary moment. “You don’t get many chances at these places and we have to take them, but it happens. Players miss chances. Everyone does it,” he said. “You can’t just have one chance and hit the post. You need to create more. It is tough to do against teams such as Celtic, but we’ll keep improving.”

And by nudging up standards, Doyle-Hayes says it is hardly unrealistic to believe silverware success can ensue for a team that have reached the past two domestic showpieces, and were League Cup semi-finalists prior to that. The Cove contest allows them to embark on another such quest at just the right time, believes the 23-year-old Irishman.

“When you get beaten, it is good to get back out as quickly as you can to put it right. It’s a tough game and we can’t loosen up. We know to go out there and be focused to push on and get to another cup final. Everyone in the changing room wants silverware. That’s our goal and we need to go out and put on a good performance as it will be a tough.”

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