Shaun Maloney hails Hibs battling mentality as he makes ‘first of many’ Kevin Nisbet prediction

Hibs boss Shaun Maloney has hailed his battling stars for fighting back to beat Arbroath and avoiding a potential cup upset.

And he hopes Kevin Nisbet’s match-winning moment of magic will be a turning point for the previously misfiring Scotland striker.

Hibs went into the Scottish Cup clash with the Championship leaders in poor form and would have been fearing the worst when the home side struck first.

But Demetri Mitchell equalized before Kevin Nisbet fired them ahead and American hitman Chris Mueller made sure late on.

It fired the Hibees into the quarter-finals and Maloney said: “Arbroath are top of the league below. “You have to be very wary of these games and there’s a reason it’s on TV. I understand that dynamic.

“With the goal going in so early, the momentum they had made it a very difficult game.

“I’m just really pleased for the players with what they showed today.

“I thought the performance was very good, especially after the early setback.

“It was a big test. The conditions weren’t easy.

“But the mentality was very good from the players. They fought, but they also played. So I’m really pleased.

“I learn in every game. I think what they showed today was a real desire not to be beaten.

“When you have a big setback after six minutes against a team from a division below… “They showed a really strong mentality to come back.

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‘It wasn’t just a fight. They showed some quality as well with the way we passed through them at times. “

Demetri Mitchell leveled for Hibs and Chris Mueller sealed the win although it was Kevin Nisbet’s moment of magic that won the game with the killer second.

A delighted Maloney claimed: “I try to keep Kevin’s confidence as high as possible because even when he’s not scored, his performances have been very good for me.

“When Kevin starts to take these chances he is going to be a very good player because of the positions he gets into and the other parts of his game are very good.

“Hopefully that’s the first of many for him.”

Maloney now wants his side to use this result to kick on in the league, starting against Ross County in the league.

I have admitted: “Every game feels like that. There have been parts of performances before that have been good and other parts that haven’t been good enough.

“What really pleased me was the fight they showed, similar to what we had in the derby, and even the quality we had.

“Hopefully there is momentum now.

‘Ross County is a very different game.

“They have different threats but we’ll have to show exactly the same fight and desire as we did today.”

Proud Arbroath boss Dick Campbell admitted things could have been different if Jack Hamilton hadn’t missed a big chance at 1-0 – after confusion over an offside flag.

Campbell said: “I have [Jack Hamilton] said to me at half-time he was thousands offside, but there you go, he wasn’t.

“These are chances you need to take. On any other day it might have gone our way.”

He praised his promotion chasers but accepted Hibs deserved their win.

Campbell added: “But anybody who knows anything about football would see the depth and quality Hibs have, and all credit to them, I thought they were worthy winners.

“I’ve no complaints whatsoever. I’m very proud of the players but I just felt that things didn’t fall for us.

“We had two fantastic chances early in the second half and you need everything to go for you on days like this.

“You can see the depth in quality Hibs have and they are worthy winners.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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