Hibs boss Lee Johnson revealed the club are “not going to be able to move much in the market” before the transfer window shuts at midnight on Thursday, September 1. Such an admission will likely cause fans some concern. The Easter Road hierarchy have invested heavily in the squad across the past few months, bringing in 13 players. Despite the number of arrivals there are still areas in need of strengthening.
Rocky Bushiri’s injury has increased the need for a centre-back. Despite a new role with the development team, Darren McGregor’s presence has been required with the first-team squad for every league game so far. Johnson has reverted to last season’s midfield. More is needed in terms of supporting and assisting the forward line with the hope Kyle Magennis will be the answer when back to full fitness. Then there is the striker position. Christian Doidge is coming back from a difficult injury and still looks to need more time, while Kevin Nisbet is still recovering from injury.
It would be foolish to write off any of the club’s summer recruitment, especially as many are young. But Johnson spoke of players needing to “step up”. That goes for those he has been relying on and those in reserve.
Johnson’s Hibs, at the moment, are far from complete. The job is perhaps more extensive than first thought. Yet, with Aberdeen’s overhaul working well it adds that added bit of pressure.
St Mirren have been on the end of plenty of criticism from those of a Celtic or Rangers persuasion following the club’s voluntary donation scheme where fans can pay an extra £30 as a way to cover any shortfall for only giving the Old Firm one stand rather than two. It was a decision that was made a while back following consultation with the supporter base (something more clubs should do more regularly). It is well within their right to do so, especially as it means not moving fans from their seats. It also prevents the game from turning into a home from home for the visiting team.
There were a healthy number of fans in all three home stands for the win over Hibs and they, by and large, enjoyed what they saw.
Curtis Main and Jonah Ayunga didn’t have their finest games in a St Mirren shirt but both left the pitch to standing ovations. Slowly but surely, Buddies supporters are buying into Stephen Robinson‘s philosophy. According to St Mirren podcast Misery Hunters, going by three points for a win, it is the strongest start to a top-flight season in 38 years.
If they can build on this strong start, Keith Lasley and the club’s hierarchy won’t have to worry about any shortfall for taking a stand back from the Old Firm.
If there was a moment which summed up Hibs’ disjointed Saturday afternoon it was assistant boss Jamie McAllister bellowing at Lewis Miller for not being ready when the management team wanted to make a change. It may have given a few home fans around the dugouts a bit of a fright but the frustration was understandable.
Hibs were chasing the game and wanted to act quickly but the Aussie wasn’t ready.
“Surely as a player you are looking at a clock knowing you might go on,” queried Johnson after the match. “The exact situation was a wide free-kick outside the box. We wanted to get Lewis Miller and he’s not got his shinpads on, boots tied up or shirt on. He is 6ft2 and a powerhouse. I’m not talking bad of him, it’s just the naivety.”
Hibs need better on the park and off of it.
There are currently 11 Australians plying their trade in the Scottish Premiership and St Mirren can have claim to two of the most impressive Aussie performers.
Kyle Baccus has been an excellent acquisition and fits perfectly into the system and what Robinson wants of his midfielders. Dynamic, energetic, all-action. He gets about the pitch so well, engages opponents and is adept on the ball. He should have scored more than his one goal.
The man who set it up, Ryan Strain, was arguably the Buddies’ best performer. Non-stop running down the flank. A great attitude and a positive wing-back.
With Australian officials watching on, Hearts Aussie international right-back Nathaniel Atkinson may have to look over his shoulder.
St Mirren: Carson 7; Fraser 7, Gallagher 7, Dunne 8, Strain 8, Baccus 8, Erahon 7 (Gogic N/A), O’Hara 7, Tait 7; Ayunga 6 (Brophy 7), Main 7 (Kiltie 6).
Hibs: Marshall 6; Cadden 6, Porteous 5, Hanlon 7, Cabraja 5 (Stevenson 6); Doyles-Hayes 6, Newell 7, Campbell 6 (Henderson 6); Boyle 5, Doidge 5, Youan 4 (Melkersen 5).