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Durnan defeats damaged Hibees

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Queen of the South left Easter Road with three points and their 1-0 win added to a draw in the capital previously means Hibs have failed to beat the Doonhamers, Falkirk and Raith Rovers at home this season.

Not good enough for a team who are hoping to go up via the play-offs and a possible match up with James Fowler’s team or Peter Houston’s Bairns on the way.

There’s an awkward nervousness about Hibs at the minute and their veracious buoyancy which emphasised the middle of their season has departed to leave the end of their season teetering on the brink.

Alan Stubbs must use every ounce of his man-management skills to ensure his team’s season doesn’t falter and frizzle out with only a whimper.

He and his players have enveloped positivity with some extremely damaging results, losing so many points to teams around them will be a concern but if, and it’s a big if, they can regain the mental toughness in the next few weeks then they know that they can compete.

Should they fail do so then you’ve got to fear for not only the players but the club as well.

The momentum of good results allowed the football club to receive some goodwill of late but Hibs have always been a couple of damaging scorelines away from things going mammaries skywards.

The season started with a fractured club trying to repair the devastating effect that Terry Butcher had on this proud club, levelled out to a positive run both on and off the pitch but will the final few weeks bring a crescendo of delight or a chorus off despair in defeat.

The volume of support that the club have been looking to regain is large in numbers, clear in their vision and determined in their mind.

Perhaps the most damning statistic of the day, other than the defeat, was a sub 9k crowd – for a match taking place over Easter weekend that is a pretty poor attendance.

Identifying profusely the size of the task which faces Leeann Dempster, Stubbs and the rest of the staff at East Mains in tempting back the fans the club have lost in recent seasons.

Results like yesterday won’t help that process and the general sense of resignation over a typical Hibs disappointment that the supporters overseen yesterday is damaging to a degree.

The chronic insipidity with which the Hibees approached this game is a worry and Stubbs will be hoping to relieve the nerves before a midweek trip to Ian Murray’s Dumbarton.

In possession they looked awkward, every player seemed to take one touch too many, the passes mostly went sideways rarely penetrating a well-drilled Queen of the South team, the crossing was erratic and the shooting was dreadful.

In previous matches Stubbs could have pointed to being “unlucky” but this time around his team got what they deserved after failing to show the “character” and “personality” that he spoke about them having in a recent Hibernian TV interview.

Hibs have reverted to type of late and the players will need to display the bottle that Stubbs claimed his team “will always have” if they are to achieve anything worthwhile this season.

The winning goal was a scrappy one when it arrived but Mark Durnan certainly won’t care. The big centre half fired high in to the net after a Kevin Holt cross was left uncleared by a hesitant Hibs defence.

A small stramash ensued before Durnan pounced on the loose ball and hit his team in to the lead with the second half only eighty seconds old.

Malonga, Dja-Djedje and Stanton fired over as the home side looked for a way back in to the match but their performance merited little and they got what they deserved.

Fowler’s team on the other hand were well set-up, defending stoutly and attacking with veracity through Daniel Carmichael, Gavin Reilly and Derek Lyle constantly a threat to the Hibs defence.

They’ve impressed this season and will be hoping to claim a play-off place at the expense of Falkirk. Hibernian won’t relish a two-legged tie against either of these opponents though.

What lies next is a visit to the Bet Butler stadium and having suffered three defeats on the spin it’s imperative that Hibs come out on top.

It was grim to watch on Saturday and I am sure that fact won’t have been lost on the management team. The worry is the players have ran out of steam just as the season approaches such an important climax.

I don’t think that is the case, I think it’s nerves and it’s only natural that players will start to think ahead but they need to deal with the present before they can affect the future.

Many of these players are playing for new contracts, looking to attract suitors in better leagues and possibly even thinking about international honours so they need to prove to the onlookers that they can cope with the demands of playing under pressure.

Losing out when the going gets tough will only leave them and the club floundering in the Championship next season.

The players will be feeling the heat right from the start of the game on Wednesday, they know everyone outside of the club is loving the fact they’ve ‘crumbled’ but there’s a lot of mileage in this season yet and we all need to maintain our support.

At some points this season Stubbs and co have made us proud to be Hibees again, there’s no doubt that frustrations have also been felt but we can’t turn our backs when they all really need us the most.

So with the tune of a harp sing loudly, with the strength of a castle under siege get behind the team and do our bit to ensure that the good ship Hibernian sails to the Premiership come the end of May.

A backing which all the players will appreciate and hopefully it will help to encourage the required response.

It’s time for them to roll up the sleeves, get stuck in and fight for the badge.

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