There’s no denying that Christian Doidge had a rough start to life at Hibs. Nine league games passed him by, and despite plenty of hustle and bustle, no goals were forthcoming.
A prolific marksman down south, Doidge was brought to the SPFL and Easter Road by Paul Heckingbottom. With Hibs shelling out six figures for him, expectations will remain high throughout his Leith spell.
Hibs spending a big fee on him was a cliched ‘statement of intent’ in some way. It seemed to show that Hibs had found their man to lead the line. 66 goals in 122 Forest Green Rovers games showed he knew the route to goal.
Tough beginnings for Doidge at Hibs
The only strikes Doidge had in Hibs colours before November were goals in the League Cup. To keep his own confidence up, the prolific EFL marksman really needed to find some form and quick.
He has been through a tough phase before, scoring once in 17 Bolton appearances as issues off the pitch and results on it dampened spirits around the club. At Forest Green though, he was pretty consistent, which is why Hibs forked out the cash for him
There was something not clicking for him though early doors at Hibs. Heckingbottom was playing one up top and it wasn’t working for Doidge. Since a change in formation to two up top, everything has changed.
The Kamberi partnership
Both he and Florian Kamberi have been partnered together in Hibs’ last four games and it’s no coincidence that has resulted in six Doidge goals. It’s a remarkable turnaround that’ll fill him with confidence.
Doidge’s new partner in crime believes it’s had a profound effect on both his and Doidge’s form. Speaking after the 3-1 win over Motherwell, Kamberi thinks it is working out well for everyone involved.
“It’s a 4-4-2 diamond with two up top, and I think the most successful times the club has had, it was always with two up front,” Kamberi said. “We’ve been very, very good when playing two up top. That made the difference.
“Everyone knows that Scott Allan can play the final pass, Doidge is very good in the air, and I do all the other stuff on the floor. It’s a very good mix.
“I think myself and Doidge have a good partnership and we’ve shown we can play very well together, him with his strengths and me with my strengths. It has worked out pretty well for the team.”
Doidge has Ross’ backing too
The goals haven’t always been pretty but as long as they go in, the Welshman won’t be caring one bit. His goal on Saturday came through sheer perseverance, competing with Kilmarnock goalkeeper Laurentiu Branescu and winning the knockdown which he was able to guide into the net.
Goals are coming easy to him now which will please new boss Ross. Doidge has now scored six goals in in 13 Premiership games and looks likely to hit at least double figures before Christmas.
He hasn’t let his head drop and that’s commendable. It’s not just the scoring of goals though, his overall play looks better too. Doidge is winning plenty of headers in the air, winning 24 in his last three games prior to the Killie match.
His hold up play is efficient and he’s running the channels effectively when required. Against Motherwell, he completed 1000m of high-speed running.
It’s great to see the Welshman firing so regularly. Doidge looks set to become a focal point in this Hibs side after coming through a tough spell strongly, with his new manager Ross well aware of what he brings to the table.
“I think he’s a good player, Ross said after the 2-2 draw with Kilmarnock. “He’s a player who’s at the club because he has attributes. I’ve not been disappointed by him.
“Statistically over the years his goalscoring return has been good and it’s about encouraging him to keep faith with that.
“He’s in that goalscoring vein which is important for strikers.”