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Thread: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

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    Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    What a HUGE difference in a very short period of time Yogi has made to everything to do with our club. Last season was a miserable one for all concerned. At times we had good results. We were undefeated against the Gunts in the SPL for example but we are no fools. The club was going backwards and the quality of the football was awful.

    Yogi arrived and was an immediate breath of fresh air. He was saying what we wanted to hear but i think underneath it all we had our fears that he wouldn't back up talking the talk by walking the walk.

    Thankfully he has. A draw at Ibrox (Even though they are far from their best they still have resources a manager of a club like Hibs can only dream about) leaving us all a little disappointed tells the story of where we are and just how far we've come.

    Lets be clear however, Improvement has arrived, but our feet must be firmly on the ground, as it could in theory just as quickly go all so horribly wrong.

    In all honesty though unlike two years ago when a victory at Ibrox sent us top of the SPL i have a bit more faith in this current bunch of players and indeed the manager running the show. Therefore, i'm pretty damned confident this is no false dawn.

    Because we do have some quality players. Quite a few in fact. I'd suggest that the likes of Bamba, Murray, Millar, Zemamma, Mcbride, Stokes, Riordan and Benji would walk into the starting eleven of any other SPL side.

    That's EIGHT players from a possible ELEVEN. So what i'm suggesting is that IMHO we currently have a stronger mainstream of a side than any other SPL club. So does that mean we are serious contenders? No i don't think so. Can we be contenders? IMHO probably unlikely. Could we be contenders? IMHO it's possible.

    I think our current priority is to now confirm that we see 3rd position as our number one priority. To be honest i just don't actually see the competition. Gunts?:sɯɐʎ Aberdeen? No chance. Dundee United? On paper we've a better side. But in Craig Levein we've a pretty astute opponent and he'll get a bit more out of the Dundee Utd side than he should on paper. However, in reality we should be too strong. Should be though is entirely different from will be....

    So what do we need to maintain and sustain what we've got? And furthermore what do we need to add to perhaps go further and be a possible contender to Rantic?

    Well first thing first is consistency. We can't afford another Hamilton or St Johnstone (in CIS) if we are to be a contender. And that's why i fear that being a contender is unrealistic. To achieve 3rd we'll get away with another two or three 'Hamilton's'. And in all honesty that's where i think we are.

    The second thing (Though possibly the first in order to get that consistency) is a mental toughness. In this respect i do have confidence. I look at they eight players i listed and i see it in abundance.

    The third thing and what Yogi may well look at in order to achieve the mentality and consistency is personnel.

    But regardless to recruiting for these reasons i think our current weakness in our best 11 suggest that we need to recruit. I think our obvious weakness is right back (Wotherspoon is doing fantastic in a position that isn't his and as i've stated previously i doubt McCann will be the answer) and centre back. Even with Bamba i feel the middle is a bit too soft and when Bamba is off in Jan (short term on international duty or dare i say longer term as i fear Bamba is our threat of a player being punted...) even more so.

    In an ideal world we need two centre backs. Number one would be a left sided Jones type and number two would be a Bamba type for cover or to play alongside.... Getting in these types won't be easy. I think we've lined up Barr and he'd fill one of them but i think getting in another could be crucial. Though interstingly i'd be quite keen to see how Hanlon could do alongside Bamba...

    Up front we're stronger than anyone in the SPL. In midfield we've talent in abundance in Millar, Mcbride and Zemamma (and a truly outstanding prospect in Wotherspoon in the wings). If we were able to tackle the right back and centre half slots in January and still be there or thereabouts through consistency then hey why not?

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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    Could we lose Bamba, Benji, and Zemmama to the African Nations Cup in January? I know we'll definitely lose Bamba with the Ivory Coast but do Morocco still have an outside chance of making it too? That could have a pretty catastrophic impact on our season's ambitions, were we to lose all three.

    In 20+ years of following Hibs I can rarely remember us having a strong second half of the season. Even in the years when we've qualified for Europe it's been down to our good early season form as we usually stagger over the finishing line. We've got as strong a squad as I can remember this campaign mind you!
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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    What we need to be able to do is to struggle through the abominable pitches of December, January and February, something we rarely manage.
    I'm already bricking about playing the first (4th) round of the Holy Grail without Bamba.
    GGTTH

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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    think you over estimate the number of of our players who'd make it into an SPL select side I'd give you Miller, Stokes and Zemmama (and possibly Benji) however - we have a good squad but its not (by far) the best in the SPL

    In terms of new players i think we need to trust our current squad to fill in any gaps that appear during the course of the season with darren barr (or similar) being the exception - he can do right back and centre back and would be ideal. i'd maybe look at a new rb too if yogi feels kevin mcCann isnt going to be a regular, but i think he still has potential there. For the other CH cover i'd go with Hanlon, Murray or McCormack and see if any of them can step up to the plate. if we get the chance to sell on some of our squad players in january we could strengthen but i wouldnt be looking for a bigger squad size.

    Developing youth will always be the Hibs way and I hope it continues to be so.
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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Weehibbydrew View Post
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    What we need to be able to do is to struggle through the abominable pitches of December, January and February, something we rarely manage.
    I'm already bricking about playing the first (4th) round of the Holy Grail without Bamba.
    The pitches don't get that bad do they these days?

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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
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    The pitches don't get that bad do they these days?
    Ours and Motherwell's have been pretty dire in recent seasons quite often.

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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Weehibbydrew View Post
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    What we need to be able to do is to struggle through the abominable pitches of December, January and February, something we rarely manage.
    I'm already bricking about playing the first (4th) round of the Holy Grail without Bamba.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hibee Kev View Post
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    Could we lose Bamba, Benji, and Zemmama to the African Nations Cup in January? I know we'll definitely lose Bamba with the Ivory Coast but do Morocco still have an outside chance of making it too? That could have a pretty catastrophic impact on our season's ambitions, were we to lose all three.

    In 20+ years of following Hibs I can rarely remember us having a strong second half of the season. Even in the years when we've qualified for Europe it's been down to our good early season form as we usually stagger over the finishing line. We've got as strong a squad as I can remember this campaign mind you!
    All good points. Worth bearing in mind as a note of caution that we were in a similar position under JC, playing great stuff and even top of the league for a day - but in the bottom half and really struggling by Xmas. Not saying that will happen agin but it shows its too early to get carried away. I suspect that Collins' football at all costs policy had something to do with that. Unfortunately he was in Leith not Monaco. This Hibs side will have to show they can also battle and scrap for results when the going gets tough. Let's see where we are come the beginning of February.

    I think you called it right about the African Nations Cup - an outside chance of Morocco qualifying. I'm sure there's one poster that could confirm all the permutations though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
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    The pitches don't get that bad do they these days?
    Not as bad as in the past but still a factor and not much you can do about bad weather, particularly the wind.

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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    Quote Originally Posted by vasco de gama View Post
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    Ours and Motherwell's have been pretty dire in recent seasons quite often.
    Guntcastle's looking good at the moment - I suppose it has something to do with the liberal amount of manure covering it every other week. (sorry, couldnae help masel'!) :banana :sɯɐʎ

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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    To be fair to us, we were very much in our formative stages then, and though there will be upsets, I think we have come on a lot since then. But we do need to build on where we are, and I think we need a bit more stability at the back.

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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    Certain areas of the team have shown a great deal of improvment but the defence is a must to improve on as our luck will turn at some stage, if we are honest we could have been 3 goals down by halftime on Saturday, still very suspect with high balls into the box, other teams are well aware of this now and will seek to exploit it, more so the team we play a week on Saturday.
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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    Quote Originally Posted by eckmf View Post
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    Certain areas of the team have shown a great deal of improvment but the defence is a must to improve on as our luck will turn at some stage, if we are honest we could have been 3 goals down by halftime on Saturday, still very suspect with high balls into the box, other teams are well aware of this now and will seek to exploit it, more so the team we play a week on Saturday.
    Being honest we should have been winning at half time

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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Forever Green View Post
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    Being honest we should have been winning at half time
    The kind of football we're playing, we'll be involved in games like Saturdays a lot this season. Great to watch, but we could as easily lose the game as win it. I'm not sure the defense is good enough to deal with that all season.

    In terms of battling to win games during the winter period on rotton pitches, I think we have the players to do it: however a couple of the flair players would have to be sacrificed.
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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    Quote Originally Posted by eckmf View Post
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    Certain areas of the team have shown a great deal of improvment but the defence is a must to improve on as our luck will turn at some stage, if we are honest we could have been 3 goals down by halftime on Saturday, still very suspect with high balls into the box, other teams are well aware of this now and will seek to exploit it, more so the team we play a week on Saturday.
    We also could have been 3 up in the first half, and should have been leading within a minute.

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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    I agree with all the above. I think to challange for 3rd place (or more) we need to pick up more points away from home this season. Over the last three seasons we havent been great on the road, but our home form has always been pretty decent.

    RB/CB in January will keep me happy.

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    Re: Much much improvement but how do we sustain it or better still improve on it?

    Quote Originally Posted by hibeesbounceross View Post
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    I agree with all the above. I think to challange for 3rd place (or more) we need to pick up more points away from home this season. Over the last three seasons we havent been great on the road, but our home form has always been pretty decent.

    RB/CB in January will keep me happy.
    Last season must have been an exception to the rule.

    I remember some pretty poor results at ER.

    Losing 4-2 to ten man Killie. Losing 2-1 to ICT.
    2-1 against the arabs, 3-0 & 3-2 v the hun, 1-0 against Motherwell [IIRC] & a good few draws too.

    We probably gained only around 26 [?]points at ER from a possible 57/60?

    The home form is very important.
    Pretty decent so far this season . Should have had something from the game against the soapies & should have put UTD away when we were on top, but we didn't.

    We should be looking to get around 35/38 points from the home games before the split.
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