'Humble' Hibs players need to trust in themselves, says manager Jack Ross
It was games like Hibs’ win over Dundee United at Tannadice earlier in the season that convinced onlookers that the Easter Road side might have what it takes to deliver something memorable this term.
Not because they blew the Tayside team aside, as they have some sides, but because, when they needed to, in a tight encounter, they somehow carved out the win.
With just four defeats and five draws from 24 games, in all competitions, this term, that ability - a mix of resilience and mental and physical endurance - has been key.
Enjoying the opportunity to move back into second place in the league against United today, just days after booking their place in another major semi final, they have every right to be strutting about their East Lothian training centre, according to their impressed manager Jack Ross, but instead, with competition rife within their own ranks and a healthy respect for their rivals in the top fight, their grounded approach has helped the Easter Road side maintain their momentum as they continue to put in the hard graft needed to keep their season on track.
“They need encouraged to have trust in themselves because they are a humble group,” said manager Jack Ross. “It’s such a good group to work with that they are never going to get carried away.
“But equally they should have a bit of swagger about them at times because of what they are doing on a regular basis.
“So it’s just growing that and winning games naturally helps. It’s my job to encourage that within the parameters of still working and doing the basics right.”
The idea of some of the tried and trusted Hibs regulars ever adopting any sense of superiority seems unlikely but they have started to show signs of their trust in eachother. And a blossoming confidence. That is evidenced in the way they are bouncing back within games, and their ability to recover from defeats such as the Scottish Cup hurt at the hands of capital foes Hearts or the men-against-boys performance against league rivals Aberdeen at Pittodrie. While they have outshone sides, there have been several examples of their willingness to simply hang tough until a winner comes along. Those are the displays that indicate a resilience where once there was panic or despair.
That attitude should help in the upcoming run of home games, where teams are likely to set up more defensively than they would on home and challenge Hibs to find a way past.
“The fact we have so many home games is nice because it feels as though we’ve been on the road a lot this season,” said Ross. “Our away record has been fantastic but we need to capitalise on the home matches we have against teams like United and St Mirren who are on a good run too.
“It’s an opportunity for us. We see each block [of fixtures] as an opportunity to keep putting the foundations in place for a successful season. This is a vital four-five week period in terms of shaping our season.”
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