Hibernian can rattle, they can roll and, by heck, they can shake. Often across any given 20-minute spell.
Neil Lennon’s side got the job done eventually yesterday – Jason Cummings the beneficiary of an aberration from a defender – but not without threatening to be undone in the fashion they were on Tuesday.
Then they blitzed Queen of the South but scored only once and, when a spirited comeback from the visitors produced an equaliser, they ended up caving at the cost of a place in the quarter-finals of the Betfred Cup. Yesterday, seeking to atone at their home in front of the country’s biggest crowd – given as 16,477 despite plenty of gaps – they duffed up a well-supported Dunfermline for 45 minutes but failed to turn their superiority into goals, aside from a Ben Richards-Everton back-header into his own net, and were pegged back approaching the hour when on-loan Hearts striker Gavin Reilly swept a low drive in from the edge of the area for a smart finish. Cue an attack of the wobbles in the home ranks.
What happened next though meant Lennon largely poo-poohed any parallels, which he maintained were “not really” there because “we won”.
They did so because Callum Fordyce, in his first senior outing for 11 months after a leg break, fluffed an attempted clearance with the result that the ball squirted into the path of Jason Cummings inside the six-yard box. A gift he accepted to set his team on their way with only 12 minutes of normal time remaining.
“I don’t want to put a negative slant on another very good performance because we dominated for long periods. We’ve had umpteen chances on goal, could have been two or three up at half-time;” Lennon said (with Holt side-footing wide with the goal at his mercy and Cummings having an effort that hit the inside of the post).
“They actually scored when we were really in control. There was a break in play and we switched off, they scored a very good goal and for only five minutes there we wobbled and we have to learn to manage that better.
“Good players making basic errors for no reason. It’s just the psychology of the game. After that they settled and we looked all right again and scored a great goal, Jason again in the right place at the right time. I’m very happy. It’s not easy this league, but that’s two wins out of two so I’ve got very pleased.”
Lennon declared the size of the Easter Road crowd “amazing” and delight in the number of punters showing up was just about the only aspect of the day in which he had common ground with Dunfermline counterpart Allan Johnston.
If Lennon was unwilling to put a negative slant on the 90 minutes, the promoted club’s manager sought to provide a sunnily upbeat assessment – which included marvelling at the backing received till the end from more than 1,200 travelling fans.
“I don’t think we deserved that by any means. I thought they caused us problems in the first half with the height they have got in set pieces and their goal was unlucky because Ben was stretching for it and that sometimes happens.
“But credit to the players, I thought they responded brilliantly and at 1-1 it looked like we were the only team who were going to score. So it was a cruel blow for them to score in the manner in which they did.
“But Callum was brilliant, it looked like he had never been away, and it was a bad bounce. We are gutted, but we just have to look for the positives. A lot of teams would just come here and park the bus, but we went and had a go and it’s really disappointing not to get anything.
“Hibs are the favourites to win the league along with Dundee United, so to put in a performance like that against the top teams is good and if we keep doing that week in, week out, then you are not going to be far away from the top of the table.”
Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/competitions/premiership/five-things-we-learned-from-dundee-1-2-rangers-1-4202232