Kevin Nisbet: Hibernian’s season could be revived by the Scottish striker

Hibs Kevin Nisbet scores to make it 0-1 during a light Premiership game between Motherwell and Hibs at Fir Park
Kevin Nisbet has now scored five goals in five games since returning from a knee injury

Almost every time Kevin Nisbet touched the ball in the Motherwell box, he scored.

He is now his side’s top scorer in the league with five goals, having played just five games since returning from a nine-month lay-off with a knee injury.

So could he revive Hibs’ season? The man himself keeps calm.

“I think it’s something to build on and we can’t get too ahead of ourselves,” he told BBC Scotland.

“It’s just one win and we have a lot of big games coming up. We have three big games coming up with two in the league and one in the Scottish Cup (against the Heats).”

Nisbet is of course right, it is only the third win for Hibs in 12 league games. Motherwell still scored twice and could, on another day, have taken something.

But a week after manager Lee Johnson said he was “sick of mediocrity” in front of goal, his main striker has done well.

It was a textbook display of penalty kicks.

He eluded his – albeit sluggish – markers for his first, got in the right place for a tap-in to score his second, and sprinted past Sondre Solholm Johansen to finish first time for his second treble for Hibs.

Four taps in a box. Three goals.

“For him, to be out for that long and get a hat-trick – those were great finishes,” former Hibs manager John Collins told Sportsound. “If Hibs can create, they will score.”

Another man who will be delighted to see Nisbet return to form is Scotland head coach Steve Clarke.

Nisbet has one goal in his 10 games and will once again add to his country’s attacking numbers, no small feat in a situation where the national team is short on numbers.

“You look at him and the work Lawrence Shankland is doing around town (at Hearts) and it gives opportunities,” former Scotland striker Steven Thompson told Sportsound.

“It’s great for Steve Clarke that these players are scoring regularly for their clubs. And for Nisbet, it will do the confidence good.”

Statistical presentation by Kevin Nisbet

Supporting actors

No number nine can thrive without service, of course, and Nisbet’s supporting cast stood up at Fir Park.

Aiden McGeady was excellent for Hibs in his first start of the season due to his own injury problems. He set up the opening goal and created more chances than any of his teammates.

Sam Nisbet said Hibs were “a better team” with McGeady involved.

“As a striker you don’t have to work too hard in the box because you know the ball will be there,” he said. “You could see it with the first goal, I just touched and pressed.”

Collins also thinks McGeady will be key to Hibs’ prospects.

“He’s going to make a difference on this team,” Collins said. “She always receives it in tight situations and takes care of the ball, and she plays small passes for Nisbet.

“If Hibs can keep him fit, the fans will enjoy watching him.”

Johnson believes that keeping hold of his attacking players – Martin Boyle, who is out for the season – could be the key to looking up the table rather than settling for their current seventh place.

Although there are still weaknesses, especially at the back if Ryan Porteous leaves the club in January.

“I’ve always held that our front line, when we’re fully fit, is really dangerous at this level,” Johnson told BBC Scotland. “That then reduces the pressure on the back line.

“Magennis, Nisbet, McGeady, every time they get a few minutes it makes me happier because I know we’re going to go further as a football club.”


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