HIBS’ SURGE SINCE KIL­LIE POWER CUT

Hor­gan en­joy­ing life at Easter Road af­ter ar­rival of new boss Heck­ing­bot­tom

The Scotsman - - WEEKEND SPORT - By MOIRA GOR­DON

Winger Daryl Hor­gan says Easter Road side re­turn to Rugby Park to­day in bet­ter form af­ter a pos­i­tive cou­ple of months

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.

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 r eplay? Yeah!” ad­mit­ted Daryl Hor­gan, who didn’t start that game but was thrown into the ac­tion at the be­gin­ning of the sec­ond half.

“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 i n 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 Premier ship de­feat since Paul Heck­ing­bot­tom took over the man­age­rial reins, they have lost just once in the past dozen league fix­tures.

“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 Novembe rand 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, t he 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.”

“You’re 2- 0 down with ten min­utes to go, would you take a re­play? Yeah. There were a few bad games dur­ing that run but that was right up there”

DARYL HOR­GAN

2 Daryl Hor­gan is look­ing for­ward to try­ing to help Hibs make a se­ri­ous chal­lenge in the Premier­ship next sea­son. To­day they travel to Rugby Park where, on their last visit, the match was de­layed by a sec­ond- half power cut.

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