Hibs' tough times don't last - but Kevin Nisbet should have had more goals

Kevin Nisbet has had it tough of late.

Hibs Kevin Nisbet celebrates after scoring to make it 1-1 during a cinch Premiership match against St. Johnstone.
Hibs Kevin Nisbet celebrates after scoring to make it 1-1 during a cinch Premiership match against St. Johnstone.

Going into Saturday’s game against St Johnstone, the Hibs and Scotland striker had not found the net since October 3, in stark comparison to the fine goalscoring form in green-and-white this time last year.

While the goals may not have been flowing, Nisbet’s general play has been acceptable. Without the help of Christian Doidge for much of this season due to injury and, latterly, suspension, the 24-year-old has had to lead the line mostly on his own.

The difficult times looked to be continuing for Nisbet at McDiarmid Park when he had two goals controversially chalked off, mirroring the fortunes of his team in the midst of a five-game losing run and down 1-0 to a ten-man St Johnstone. But then the tide turned, on 83 minutes, when Nisbet levelled and Jamie Murphy got the winner moments later.

“That was a tricky game,” reflected Nisbet. “We lost a sloppy goal which we will go back and look over and see what went on.

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“But to show the character the lads did in the second half to go out there and 2-1 was great. It’s great to get the monkey off our backs.

“We knew our luck had to change somehow. We just kept plugging away and eventually it clicked and we went on to win the game.”

Nisbet was convinced that he had been harshly treated by referee Euan Anderson and his officials for the two ‘goals’ he scored prior to the one he finally got under his belt.

“The first one is onside,” said Nisbet. “The second one I don’t think Porto [Ryan Porteous] touched [Jamie] McCart, if I’m honest. I think he just screams and it’s obviously made the ref make a decision.

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“So as soon as the second one gets disallowed you start thinking ‘it’s not going to be my day again’ but you have to keep going and keep playing our style of play.

“We knew we’d get chances and we did and we stuck them away.”

The victory over Saints – so often a bogey team for Jack Ross’ team, in particular during last season’s cups – moves them back to the top six as they approach a manic schedule in December that includes the Premier Sports Cup final against Celtic. Nisbet now wants to go on a winning run and threaten the European places, starting against Rangers on Wednesday – the club they defeated to reach that aforementioned date at Hampden.

“We’re back in the top six now but we belong higher than that,” he added. “We’ve not been good enough in the five games prior to this but it’s up to us now to turn it round, go on a wee run and climb back up the table.

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“I think we can get back up to that level. Every team goes through blips. It happens in football.

“It’s just about how you bounce back from it. We’ve got a good bunch of boys who will do that.

“Now we go to Wednesday looking for three points. Hibs and Rangers have always been good games, never a one-sided game.

“For us we just need to go out with the same intention that we did in the semi-final, take our chances and hopefully get the win.”

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