'That Hibs performance can't happen again': Home truths after Motherwell defeat

Defeat to Motherwell on Saturday may have jeopardised Hibs’ top-six hopes, but midfielder James Jeggo believes they can still secure a place among the elite when the split happens in a few games’ time and then use that momentum to push for European football next term.

The Australian has played a key role for the Easter Road club since joining in January but he was one of a slew of players who drastically under-performed at the weekend, as they passed up the opportunity to close the gap on third-placed Hearts, instead allowing Aberdeen to pull away in fourth, St Mirren to leapfrog them into fifth. With three games left before the Premiership halves for the run-in, Lee Johnson’s men have a narrow one-point advantage over Livingston in seventh.

“It was very disappointing, the result in itself was not what we wanted and I think the performance was disappointing,” admitted the experienced defensive midfielder, who was one of many to struggle with basic possession and distribution on a day when everything fell flat. “We were miles off the type of team we want to be. Performances had been very good, bar the Rangers game, over the last six games so to be so drastically bad is disappointing and we need to get a grip, quicksmart. We really let ourselves down. Three points would have been a really big step for us. You can lose games when you play well and things just go against you. But, in this one, we were miles off it individually and as a team.”

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The fact that the dip in standards coincided with a week when city rivals Hearts also lost was viewed as an opportunity missed. It places even greater emphasis on the outcome of the upcoming derby. But, with a match at Tannadice to contend with first, Jeggo says everyone has to stay focused. “It’s very tight so we can’t get caught up on what the other teams are doing, it’s about what we do,” continued Jeggo. “We know that when we play to our strengths then we can be right in the mix. That needs to be our focus first and foremost. We’ve got an important game before that away to Dundee United [on Sunday]. These next three games are massive and we need three wins. We know the derbies are always special occasions and there will be a lot riding on this one. It will be a massive test.”

Hibs duo James Jeggo, right, and Will Fish show their dejection at full time against Motherwell.Hibs duo James Jeggo, right, and Will Fish show their dejection at full time against Motherwell.
Hibs duo James Jeggo, right, and Will Fish show their dejection at full time against Motherwell.

Still determined to chase their European dream, Jeggo says they cannot ignore the fact that they have to earn the right to be part of that sprint finish. “We know that it could go either way for a lot of teams,” added the 31-year-old. “But we know that we’re good enough to make sure we’re in that top six and if we get there we can be challenging for Europe. That doesn’t change on the back of this [Motherwell defeat], but that performance can’t happen again if we want to achieve what we want to. One thing we have here is a really honest group. Players know when they haven’t played well. There are always discussions after games and things have been said, and that’s the way it should be. There were a lot of players, myself included, who were miles away from where they should be.”

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