Brandon Barker sure elusive first Hibs goal is not far away

Brandon Barker has excellent dribbling skills. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Brandon Barker has excellent dribbling skills. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
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Spectators at Dens Park on Wednesday night had it underlined to them just how hard it is to score goals.

Both Dundee and Hibs created plenty of chances but only one was taken – and that was a half-chance stylishly converted by John McGinn in Hibs’ 
1-0 win.

Other times the ball seemed programmed to avoid going in. The actual reason was a combination of poor finishing and fine goalkeeping.

Brandon Barker suffered from both. Twice in the second half he was left one-on-one with Dundee goalkeeper Elliott Parish. The first time he saw his shot ripple the side-netting while the other time he was denied by a brave block at his feet.

Barker was left to rue another goal-less appearance, although that’s not to say he didn’t play well. It’s just the lack of goals threatens to start weighing on the player’s mind.

The 21-year-old winger has featured 22 times since joining on loan from Manchester City in August. He has come close to breaking his duck, no more so than when he hit the post twice after coming on shortly after half-time against Rangers last month. It isn’t what his otherwise excellent contribution deserves.

Since his dribbling skills were again in evidence against Dundee he wonders whether he should treat the goalkeeper as another opponent to beat and go round him.

Barker admits it would be typical but no less pleasing should he finally score in one of Hibs’ toughest games of the season at Celtic Park tomorrow. He has already featured in two 2-2 draws against Brendan Rodgers’ side.

“I just think it is a bit of luck I need,” he reflected. “Next time I am going to keep dribbling and try and go round the keeper! I just need to keep shooting, and not get carried away and chase the ball. As long as we keep getting wins.”

Another one this weekend might be a tall order. But Hibs have already tasted some success this season against Celtic.

“It is so difficult to score against them but we have done it before,” he said. “Every game we have scored against them. They are the champions of Scotland and will be for some time. It is a matter of us going there and being confident and not scared.”

Barker felt Hibs should have closed out Wednesday’s win much earlier. In the end they were thankful for Dundee teenager Matthew Henvey’s rawness when heading wide from close range shortly after coming on. Hibs wasted a string of earlier opportunities to put the game to bed.

No wonder Neil Lennon is considering a move for Swiss Under-21 striker Florian Kamberi, who is on trial at Hibs from Grasshopper Zurich, with Anthony Stokes’ future uncertain. As well as creating chances for others, Barker had hoped to take some of the strain when it came to scoring.

“I don’t know what is happening with the goals department,” he said. “But I am sure that will come sooner rather than later. It is a big part of my game, getting the ball and taking players on and creating scoring opportunities. I thought I did that quite a lot [v Dundee]. I had a lot of shots but just did not get the rub of the green. I just need a bit of luck, the ball to roll through the keeper’s legs or something, then I will be flying.”