REACTION: Ross heaps praise on in-form forwards

Speaking to the press after last night’s victory, Jack Ross was quick to heap praise onto his free-scoring front line, while also providing updates on both Josh Doig and Chris Cadden. Cameron Wanstall reports.

Photo Credit – Mark Scates/SNS

Goals from Kevin Nisbet and Martin Boyle gave Hibernian a comfortable two-goal lead against Livingston on Wednesday evening. A fantastic first half wasn’t backed up after the break, however.

A late Jay Emmanuel-Thomas penalty for Livi provided a nervy end to the game, but the hosts never seemed uncertain of themselves. After the game, Hibs manager Jack Ross discussed the game of two halves, his sensational front line and team news for the week ahead.

The Game

Ross was under no illusions that his side’s second half performance was the opposite of the first, but the Hibs boss managed to find the positives in Hibs’ ability to hold onto all three points:

“We played brilliantly, I think, in the first half. In fairness to Livingston, they made the game difficult. We didn’t play as well but we found a way to win.

“That’s something we’ve got better at this season. From winning positions, I don’t think we’ve dropped many points. We are a good front running team and normally we carry more of an attacking threat when we are under pressure. 

“They made it difficult second half but it’s about having that ability to grind it out. In the end, we did it… Ironically enough, post-penalty we were probably a little bit better. I thought we managed the game a little bit better in that period. That’s what the top teams do.”

The Terrifying Trio

Christian Doidge, Kevin Nisbet and, especially, Martin Boyle all impressed in the first half and Ross was eager to praise his goal grabbing forwards. Even if he may be aware it has been a while since anyone else put one in the back of the net – Josh Doig was last to do so on February 20th against Hamilton:

“I’ve said recently about encouraging other players to get on the scoresheet but when you’ve got a front three that have contributed as many goals as they have then I don’t think you can complain. 

“They’re all in good form at the moment as well, which is probably the biggest bonus for me. They’ve all contributed, over the season, in different ways and at different times. Right now, the three of them are in a really good place and some of the play first half was terrific.”

Boyle was given further praise from his manager after a dazzling first half display that included a goal, an assist and largely contributed to his marker, Jackson Longridge, being substituted after just 28 minutes and Efe Ambrose being hooked at half-time:

“Martin was unplayable at times. Brilliant for us if they can get close to that 50 goal mark for the season as a trio then that is outstanding. 

“He’s a top, top player in this league. To produce the number of goals and assists he does is not easy. He’s a terrific asset for us. A lot of our work is based on how to get the best from him, so we put our faith in him if you like.”

Injury Concerns

Regarding injuries, Ross addressed Josh Doig’s absence and the potential return of Chris Cadden.

On Doig: “Hopefully might be available for Saturday. He had a back spasm on Sunday. I’m lucky because I’ve got Lewy (Stevenson) who I thought was brilliant tonight. His ability to come in and play is terrific.”

On Cadden: “He might be a little more doubtful, we’ll see if he’s ready. We were hoping he’d be okay tonight but there was a wee setback this morning.”

Looking ahead, Hibs face Motherwell at home in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals on Saturday before they face St Johnstone on May 1st, also at Easter Road, in the league – a win over the Saints would almost certainly secure third place for Ross and his team. 

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