Nigeria defender Efe Ambrose has called on his Hibernian teammates to stop the habit of conceding goal first in games.
Against both Partick Thistle and Rangers last month in the Scottish Premier League, Hibs conceded in the opening seven minutes but recovered to win 3-1 and 3-2 respectively.
And away to both Dundee and St Johnstone, the Easter Road side have found themselves a goal down and responded strongly to earn a 1-1 draw.
The only occasion in which they have been unable to overcome a deficit was in the 3-1 defeat at home to Hamilton Accies.
Commenting on the trend, Ambrose charges the squad to halt the seeming jinx of conceding goal first in order to avoid undermining the club’s progress on their return to the top flight,
We don’t want to concede the first goal because if your mind is not strong, it can shatter your game plan and cause you to panic – it can be difficult,” Ambrose told the Edinburgh Evening News.
“But this team has good mental strength. The gaffer always tells us that if we concede a goal, the most important thing is how we bounce back from it. You can fall behind without doing much wrong. An opponent can shoot from 30 yards and it can take a deflection and go in, so we have to be prepared mentally for the possibility of falling behind.”
“We are always mindful of this, so if we do fall behind, we know that the next step is to bounce back and make sure we score a goal. No matter what happens to us in a game, we know we have to keep playing to the end. That is the mentality we have. It is not good to concede first, though, so we need to do better defensively as well.”
Ambrose who won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations with the Super Eagles in South Africa, advises that Hibs must find a way of capitalizing on the chances they are creating.
He adds: “We did enough to win the game on Saturday in terms of the chances we created and the tempo we played at. The disappointing thing was that we didn’t convert the chances but you can see there is a positivity in the team, with the character and mentality. After being a goal down, we stood up, fought to pull a goal back and then deserved to win.”
“It was very similar to the Dundee game. We fell behind, came back and then had a lot of chances. The gaffer has been telling us we need to utilize our chances and be ruthless. You can concede goals but the most important thing is that you score goals. We could easily have scored four goals on Saturday and we would have won 4-1, but one goal is not good enough for a number of chances we had. The gaffer was pleased with the performance but he was not pleased with the outcome. We need to do better up front. We need to look at our mistakes and work on them for the next game against Motherwell.”
Hibernian next league game is at home against Motherwell on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Hibs are currently sixth on eight points in the 12-team Scottish Premier League table.
Ambrose was on loan for Hibs from Celtic last season before making it a permanent move.