Hibs’ Daryl Horgan looks on bright side after dark day at Kilmarnock

The last time they travelled to Rugby Park, the Hibernian players were left hoping that the lights would go out and offer them a reprieve.

Hibernian's Daryl Horgan prepares for today's Premiership clash with Kilmarnock. Picture: Bruce White/SNS

Already 2-0 down by the time the match was delayed twice by floodlight failures, no-one in the away dressing room was in a hurry to see the issue resolved, hoping instead that they would get a postponement and a second chance to grapple for the three points.

“You’re 2-0 down with ten minutes to go, would you take a replay? Yeah!” admitted 
Daryl Horgan, who didn’t start that game but was thrown into the action at the beginning of the second half.

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“That was a bad one, in the end we were beaten 3-0 and we were beaten comprehensively as well. There were a few bad games during that run but that was right up there.

“You’re 2-0 down and it gets to a stage where you’re nearly hoping and wondering if the game might be called off. At the time [of the first malfunction] we were actually building up a little momentum and getting into the game and it looked like we might get something.

“Then the lights went off and that momentum goes. And when the game starts again you’re trying to build up more momentum and then we get cut again. So it wasn’t ideal. We didn’t deserve anything from the game but that didn’t help.”

That was back in December and the result took Killie to within a point of first place but left Hibs stranded in eighth place. Steve Clarke’s men were ultimately unable to maintain that pressure at the very top but are still vying with Aberdeen for third place and an automatic European spot.

But as they head back to Ayrshire today, the Easter Road squad do so in better form and buoyed by formidably more self belief, despite last weekend’s loss to Rangers.

Their first Premiership defeat since Paul Heckingbottom took over the managerial reins, they have lost just once in the past dozen league 

“There have definitely been ups and downs this season, added the 26-year-old Irishman, who has blossomed under the new gaffer. “Obviously there’s been a couple of disappointments and the run we went on around November and December really hampered us. But the last two or three months have been unbelievable really, we’ve been playing great stuff and winning games.

“I suppose it’s the work the manager and Robbie [Stockdale, the assistant manager] have done, everyone has bought straight into it. We seem to have a good system, a good way of playing.”

With just two league games remaining, Hibs players will then have just over four weeks off before reporting back for a new campaign. But already Horgan is excited by what that new term could bring.

“It will be great to have a pre-season where he’ll have more time to work with us. Right now, we’re still trying to build into games and build into whatever opposition we have. But when you have that month, month and a half to work on yourself and how you want to play that could be fantastic.”

And seeing Kilmarnock challenge so far up the table, despite the relative lack of finances, has proved to everyone else just how successful clubs can be with the right personnel and a bit of good fortune.

“We don’t really have to look at them and say: ‘They’ve done brilliantly, we need to do that’. We need to do it our own way and try to get to the level we need to get to playing the way we play,” added Horgan.

“Kilmarnock have had a fantastic season, Steve Clarke rightly got Manager of the Year. With the resources they have it’s not easy. But he’s brought in a very good team, they play a good style of football and it’s a hard style of football to play against as well.

“We want to challenge everyone and get as high up the table as we can. That’ll be the aim next year. We want to work away over pre-season and then take it one game at a time and finish as high as we can.”