We should have seen it coming. In a week where Hibs’ attack had been the subject of gushing praise from all quarters, it was almost inevitable that they would draw a blank at home to Dundee on Saturday, yet it is still a mystery to me as to how Hibs contrived to pass up so many chances in a game largely dominated by the home side.

The stats will show that Hibs had 23 shots on goal, nine of which were on target. Creating chances continues to be a strength for Nick Montgomery’s side, even if, on this occasion, they weren’t converted.

Dundee’s goal led a charmed life, an inspired performance from goalkeeper Trevor Carson, coupled with some dogged defending and some outright profligacy on Hibs’ part, sent Dundee back north with an unlikely point.

For all Hibs’ dominance though, they have David Marshall to thank for ensuring a clean sheet of their own. The veteran goalkeeper pulled off a terrific save in each half to serve as a reminder of what he’s capable of after some indifferent form this season. The second of those saves was as good as you’ll see this season, a quick counterattack from Dundee down Hibs’ left-hand side saw the ball break to Owen Beck, who hit a sweet volley goalward only to be denied by Marshall.

Defeat would have been very harsh on Hibs, in fact, I think the draw was harsh but it’s hard to begrudge Dundee the point given their contribution to a very entertaining game. It’s unusual for a goalless draw to be described as such, however the reaction at full time – save from a few ill-judged boos from a very small section of the home support – showed that despite the result, the Hibs support is very much on board with the direction of travel that Montgomery’s Hibs are taking.

Fans connecting with players

Lewis Stevenson commented in his post-match interview that he hadn’t seen many times where the fans had stayed back to applaud the team off the park following a goalless draw, and I’m pleased that aspect of the fans’ reaction was the one picked up on by the players. They deserved the applause from an appreciative support.

I wrote last week about a shift in mood at Easter Road and this game had me reminiscing of the early Tony Mowbray era, where Hibs drew with Dundee despite leading in the game. Rather than frustration and anger at not winning the match, the crowd that day back in 2004 had just witnessed the foundations of what would go on to be one of the most exciting Hibs teams in years, and Saturday’s match definitely had shades of that era.

It helps, of course, that Hibs had been far less wasteful in front of goal a few days earlier as they saw off St Mirren with that four-goal second half blitz in the Viaplay Cup. The Dundee game was the third home tie in a week for the Hibees, and the performances in those three games will undoubtedly strengthen the feeling of excitement of what this season might have in store. The performances have been characterised by an attacking style of play that is very easy on the eye, and – goalless draw aside – proving to be very effective.

Resilience building in Monty's Hibs

There’s even a hint of a bit of resilience building in the side – a trait that wasn’t often attributed to Lee Johnson’s team during his recent tenure. We might have expected Hibs to collapse after St Mirren’s equaliser on Wednesday night or suffer a late capitulation on Saturday in another instance of the ‘just one of those games’ that we’ve become accustomed to over recent years. Yet neither happened, and Hibs dealt with adversity well to maintain their unbeaten start to Montgomery’s time at Hibs.

Stevenson mentioned Montgomery stating that “if we want to be a big club, we have to act like a big club” in his post-match interview. It was a comment that caught my attention and had me questioning what he meant by that phrase. Certainly, Hibs approached the games this week like a “big club”. Fearless and on the front foot throughout, and with a clear determination to win, as they should have been in three matches where Hibs would traditionally be seen as favourites - although St Mirren would have something to say about that on current form.

Big club test

The “big club” test comes this month, and we’ll see just how much of a shift in mentality there has been under Montgomery. Hibs go into this weekend’s derby in high spirits, and they’ll face a Hearts team who are experiencing a very similar type of season to Hibs, one of inconsistency and some unrest amongst the support. The key difference being that Hibs have acted on the unrest and have enjoyed the ‘new manager bounce’ since.

It feels like a derby that both clubs will be looking to use as a springboard for the rest of the season. There is nothing like a derby win to erase the complaints and grievances raised in the early season games.  Hibs, already buoyant in mood, will see a derby win as clear evidence that Montgomery is the perfect fit for the club.

Defeat wouldn’t be catastrophic for Montgomery, but as much as a derby win can heal many ills, defeat in the derby is just as adept at opening old wounds. Much of the goodwill earned so far will count for little as Montgomery then has to take on both Glasgow clubs in his following matches.

When the fixtures were announced at the start of the season, October was seen as the crunch period for Hibs. We would have expected to have been better placed than we are so there is more pressure to take something from three games that are traditionally very tough for Hibs. I do think that Montgomery is a manager who will relish these fixtures though and will have his players believing not only that they can take something from the games, but that they should. That is how big clubs act.