For those searching for an answer to Scotland’s defensive woes, Fraser Fyvie says there is a simple solution.
The Hibs midfielder believes that the men who could make a difference are plying their trade in Leith.
Both Darren McGregor and Paul Hanlon have been mentioned in dispatches as everyone and their auntie offers suggestions on how best to address Scotland’s defensive vulnerabilities but Fyvie says the answer should be evident to anyone who has watched Hibs this season.
“I think if you can find two better centre-halves in Scotland than our two then come and talk to me.Those two have been fantastic all year, they were great last season as well. Their size, their stature, their composure on the ball, especially when Paul takes it in. Daz probably does the dirty work better than Paul but they blend off with each other really well. With big Fonts [Liam Fontaine] in there as well they have gelled as a back three and with Daz and Paul being Scottish, I certainly wouldn’t not put their name forward.”
Hibs’ focus this season is on gaining promotion and escaping the second tier at the third attempt and the miserly defence has been a massive factor in them hitting the top of the table and staying there.
This afternoon they play host to Queen of the South, the side responsible for Hibs’ League Cup exit and who secured a draw when the pair last met in September, but Fyvie, who is one of more than a dozen players out of contract in the summer, says the home side must treat it as an opportunity to pick up points and try to put some daylight between themselves and their main challengers. If they can do that, Fyvie says it could strengthen the case for his colleagues and prove that, like John McGinn, they are worthy of a shot at international level.
“It’s not unrealistic for players here to be in the Scotland squad,” said Fyvie. “Being honest, I didn’t expect Paul to sign his new contract here. I thought he was going to go to a much higher level because I would have thought he’d have had that option. But he decided to stay which was great for us. He is a very important player and so is big Daz, I think you can see that week in, week out. We have not conceded many goals this season and they are a big part of that.”
Acknowledging that a return to the top flight will help raise their profile, Fyvie says everyone at Easter Road is doing their best to make that a reality.
“It is a big jump from Championship to international level,” he said. “But if we were to get ourselves into the top league then it would be easier for people to judge them. So we need to get ourselves up there and hopefully we can do that. Then boys will be looked at in a different way.”