2020/21 Season Preview - Hibernian: Savvy Business, Successful Season?
The 2019/20 season wasn't the greatest for Hibs, with Paul Heckingbottom unable to continue the good form shown at the tail end of the previous season. Alongside neighbours Hearts, Hibs were having a torrid time, winning only 1 game during the first three months of the season. The squad was completely lacking in physicality and seemed to be easily outfought by weaker teams, with moments of magic from individuals saving the club from more defeats.
Heckingbottom would be sacked in November with star of 'Sunderland 'Till I Die' Jack Ross replacing as manager. The former St Mirren manager would have an instant impact with an impressive 3-1 win against Motherwell giving fans hope. The rest of the season would show glimpses of what the team could do under Ross but were clearly still missing quality in some positions.
The losses of Marvin Bartley and Mark Milligan seemed to leave a gaping hole in the middle of the park for Hibs with the incoming Josh Vela failing to make a good impression. Hibs lack of a solid defensive midfielder who would get stuck in seemed to be one of the main issues for their poor form as teams were easily winning their battles against the likes of Vela and Mallan, leaving their defence with little to no protection.
With the 2020/21 season looming, a defensive midfielder seemed desperately needed and the Hibees have done some great business in filling that void. Alex Gogic has gained a lot of admirers within the Scottish game in recent seasons with impressive displays for Hamilton Accies. The Cypriot can operate either as a centre-half or a holding midfielder and as his contract expired, he had many suitors chasing his signature. Gogic is an aggressive player who won't shy away from a battle and can move the ball very well, a perfect addition to the Hibs midfield. On paper, the signing makes complete season and could very well be the signing of the season come next May.
A midfield featuring the tenacity of Gogic and ball-playing ability of Scott Allan sounds very appealing, with Hibs now building a midfield to compete with the best in the league. Hibs should look to be more dominant at home now considering how they have boosted their options. The arrivals of winger Drey Wright and striker Kevin Nisbet have bolstered the Edinburgh sides attacking options with the latter coming off a great season that has been somewhat overshadowed by Dundee United's Lawrence Shankland. Nisbet has a great knack for goals and alongside Doidge, Hibs have two clear goalscoring threats who should be able to interchange and offer different styles within their play.
The business Hibs have done so far has been exciting and fans should be happy with those incoming so far. If they can also manage to hold on to the likes of Martin Boyle and remain relatively injury-free, it could be an exciting season for Hibs. They look to have fixed some key problems with signings that definitely better their starting XI. The Leith side has arguably done the best business this season and with a full season under Jack Ross, Hibs could re-emerge up the league table after a disappointing campaign last year. Missing out on top 6 in controversial fashion, the way the Hibs team is looking will make many think they should definitely be in contention for European places, especially as to how Kilmarnock and Motherwell have managed to do in recent years.
The business Hibs have done seems to excited fans, with over 10k season tickets sold and fans backing many club initiatives. Excitement seems to be building around this team with how they've gone about things since the premature end to the previous season. The club will have to do without their local derby for this season but there is still plenty to look forward to for Hibees this coming season.