Hibs’ defeat to Motherwell is a perfect pointer as to where it has gone wrong for Neil Lennon’s side this season.
In the first game of the season, Hibs put Motherwell to the sword, defeating the Steelmen 3-0 at Easter Road. Who was one of the main contributors in this victory? John McGinn. This was his last performance for the Hibees, picking up an assist and single handedly running the show in midfield.
Now he has gone, there are two gaping holes in the centre of Lennon’s midfield. Not only has he lost the Scotland international, but he lost his partner in crime too, Dylan McGeouch. The former Celtic youngster moved to Sunderland in the summer window, after a fruitful spell at Easter Road.
These two players drove Hibs on from the middle last year. The full team has suffered as a consequence, and it seems to have had damaging effects.
Hibs have had their engine room removed
Part of the problem is Lennon hasn’t replaced either of the midfield duo. Sure, it was always going to be an uphill task, but Hibs’ midfield is now a shadow of what it was last season.
Vykintas Slivka, Stephen Mallan, and Mark Milligan haven’t been able to replicate what McGeouch and McGinn gave Hibs last year. The pairing were the perfect duo. McGinn was an all round powerhouse, whilst McGeough was able to be a creative spark going forward.
McGinn caused massive problems for teams last season. The fact he was fouled 36 times more than any other player last season, in total being fouled 109 times, shows how much of a menace he was. Whilst never really a goal threat, McGeouch was pivotal going forward. His runs and passes were always a source of attacking impetus.
Slivka, Mallan and Milligan just haven’t been as consistent as the departed duo. Slivka and Mallan certainly had an off game against the Steelmen, as David Turnbull and Allan Campbell played them both off the park.
The Easter Road side just don’t have the metal in midfield anymore. None of the current crop of midfielders have been able to replicate the job McGinn and McGeouch did last year for Hibs. They have left two massive gaps in midfield, and if they can’t get suitable replacements soon, they could fall even further down the table.