Highs and lows for Alex Harris in Hibs' Irn-Bru Cup defeat

On a personal level, you can imagine that Alex Harris felt relatively content with his afternoon's contribution. Collectively, Hibernian are counting the cost of a performance that provoked a withering chiding from head coach Neil Lennon.

Hibernian's Alex Harris makes it 1-0 against St Mirren in Saturday's Irn-Bru Cup clash at Easter Road. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS Group
Hibernian's Alex Harris makes it 1-0 against St Mirren in Saturday's Irn-Bru Cup clash at Easter Road. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS Group

Harris was granted only his third appearance of the season in Saturday’s Irn-Bru Cup last-16 clash with St ­Mirren and he justified his inclusion with a 37th-minute strike.

After Buddies midfielder Stevie Mallan levelled four minutes later with a sublime free-kick that the hosts felt should never have been awarded in the first place, winger Harris then had a deft volley well saved by Buddies goalkeeper Jamie Langfield.

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Hibs have been down on their luck recently, this loss extending their winless run to four matches, and that theme continued when 
David Clarkson climbed off the bench to net a decisive 82nd-minute strike, the Scotland cap’s deflected shot trundling past Ofir ­Marciano.

Post-match, Lennon pulled no punches when analysing the performance, maligning his players for their “amateur” defending for the second goal, and accusing some of them of “hiding”. However, as a player trying to force his way back into the team, Harris hopes that charge is not levelled directly at him.

“While it’s good getting the goal, it’s obviously a disappointing day,” said the 22-year-old, who scored his first Hibs goal since that memorable Scottish Cup semi-final strike against Falkirk in April 2013.

“As a team player the result is the most important thing week-in, week-out. It’s my first goal at Easter Road and when I scored I hoped it would have been a day to remember, but it’s all about the result. There’s frustration there.

“I want to be working hard and making sure I give the manager a headache when he selects the team. If I’m not playing next week [against Raith Rovers] I’ll be 
disappointed but I’ll keep trying to work hard.”

Lennon claimed a nervousness afflicted his team following a fourth match without a victory and Harris agrees. He added: “It seemed liked that on the pitch. We started the season really well and won five out of five. Since then it’s gone a bit flat.

“We’ve not really produced the performances or results and we need to look at ourselves and see what we can do to improve.

“I don’t know what the difference is, it’s not clicking. It’s been four games now, since Ayr United and I think that defeat set us back a bit. We were flying at that point. It’s not really happened, it’s been a bit flat.”

New St Mirren manager Jack Ross officially takes the reins today after working his notice period in Alloa’s 4-2 victory over Welsh outfit Bala at the weekend. Rooted to the 
bottom of the Championship, the Buddies are hoping this win, coupled with Ross’ arrival, will spark and upturn in their fortunes.

“I’ve been involved in the game so long and it can change so quickly,” said St Mirren striker Clarkson.

“Hopefully this is the start of it. We’ve been working hard, it’s a great bunch of boys and hopefully this result can kick-start the results to come.

“It’s exciting times for the new gaffer and it’s exciting times for the boys. It’s a young manager coming in that has done well.

He will be used to working with young boys, as well as having the experienced boys there. Everyone is looking forward to him coming in and hopefully kick-starting the season.”