Hibs home defeat to Newco on Sunday came after wins over Hearts and St Mirren, and draws at St Johnstone and Aberdeen, the latter coming when they were on top and squandered a penalty. If you are looking for a team in the top half with incentives, look no further. Hibs need at least a point to keep Hearts within touching distance before they meet for the final game of the season on Saturday.
Worse still, a win for St Mirren tonight coupled with a Hibs defeat would see Saints move into the European spot that would be created if Celtic win the Scottish Cup. For lots of reasons I would rather Hibs finished above Hearts and St Mirren, but that’s not our concern. Celtic need to get their game face back before the that cup final 10 days from now.
Alistair Johnston has long since abandoned moonboot and crutches and returned to training after three weeks out. Our Canadian right back looks the complete thoroughbred so should remain close to full fitness after a three-week hiatus. Trophy day on Saturday should be enough to fine-tune him for the cup final.
Ange Postecoglou has flipped between Yuki Kobayashi and Tomoki Iwata for the central defensive positive made available as Cameron Carter-Vickers convalesces. For my money, Iwata did better, albeit against significantly less offensive opponents (see what I did there?), but we need to park that finding.
Iwata’s height precludes him from being anything more than a last option for central defence. Yuki is the player bought for that position and with most to gain from experience alongside Carl Starfelt. What else are dead rubbers for that preparing for the future?