Match Preview v Hibernian (Home)

Our next game is tomorrow, Easter Monday as we welcome Hibernian to Palmerston in the 3rd round of the Scottish Cup. The tie comes after our win over Queens Park at Hampden all the way back in January in the previous round thanks to goals from Wullie Gibson, Connor Shields and Aidan Fitzpatrick.

The Hibees haven’t been in action since 20th March when they came from behind to grab a point away at Livingston through Christian Doidge. We of course had a game last Saturday, a 3 – 2 win over Championship leaders, Hearts in the capital.

The last time we played Hibs was in April 2017 when the home side won 3-0 at Easter Road to seal the league title. Our last meeting at Palmerston was in January that same year when John McGinn scored the game’s only goal.

Only five of the 36 players named in either squad remain at their clubs from that meeting though, Stephen Dobbie at Queens, while David Gray, Lewis Stevenson, Darren McGregor, and Martin Boyle are all still at Easter Road.

The last time the teams met in cup action was in August 2016 in Edinburgh. Paul Hanlon gave the hosts the lead, before Dobbie’s first goal since returning to Queens, Lyndon Dykes’ first goal for the club and a Grant Anderson header put Queens through to the next round.

On the injury front, Allan Johnston will be hoping to get some of the longer-term absentees back soon. Joe McKee hasn’t been in action since January’s draw with Arbroath but did return to the bench against Hearts. Isaiah Jones was back at the club after recovering from his hamstring injury in Middlesbrough, although Monday may well come too early for the pacey winger. Dan Pybus is also nearing a return to action after picking up a hamstring injury against Hearts in February.

The away team are expected to be at full strength. Both Kevin Nisbet and Ofir Marciano were on international duty with Scotland and Israel, respectively, this past week.

Manager Allan Johnston said “The Scottish Cup is such a special competition so it’s a game that we are looking forward to. The boys have been in decent form since the turn of the year and have shown they can compete.

The performance against Hearts last week was one of quality. The players defended well, moved the ball around well, chased down second balls and created chances and scored some great goals. We will need to be at the same level again.

We’re playing against top quality opposition, Hibs are having a good season and will be looking at this competition as a chance to win a trophy. But it is a great opportunity for us to, it’s on our own patch under the lights and a chance to showcase ourselves.

It would have been great if the fans could have been in to make it a special atmosphere but we will go out and give it our best shot”.

The match is live on BBC Scotland with coverage from7.30pm with the kick off 7.45.