After giving it a miss for a few games with Nick Montgomery making minimal changes to his Hibs starting XI from match to match, Liam and Patrick return with their thoughts on how the Easter Road side might line up against St Mirren this evening. 

Does the Hibs starting XI virtually pick itself? If everyone who is currently available is at 100 per cent fitness, then it probably does. But that's not the case, and Montgomery has has often made 2-3 changes to his XI for each game. Adam Le Fondre joins Chris Cadden, Jake Doyle-Hayes, and Harry McKirdy, but Martin Boyle and Jimmy Jeggo are both likely to be fit. So who might get the nod as Hibs chase a second league win under the former Central Coast Mariners boss? 

Liam Bryce

Having Jeggo available once more is a boost at one of the trickiest venues in the country, one where they will be made to fight and scrap for everything.

According to Montgomery, the only certain absentee (aside from those out long-term) will be Le Fondre, and that could bring Christian Doidge into the line-up.

The manager also said Boyle would be in contention, but given he was so quickly taken off at Hampden, and that the coaching team are clearly mindful of his heavy workload, I would be surprised to see him remain in the starting XI just a few days later.

Hibs Observer: Liam's predicted Hibs XI against St MirrenLiam's predicted Hibs XI against St Mirren (Image: NewsQuest)


Patrick McPartlin

I wrote 1000 words earlier about how Montgomery had a thin squad at his disposal but that it wouldn't necessarily rule out the prospect of a selection surprise or two from the head coach. I agree with Liam that it would be a surprise if Jeggo didn't return to the fray after getting over the gastro-bug that affected him last week, and I also wonder if Boyle's match-fitness might be the biggest conundrum for the coaching staff. He's always liable to produce something out of nothing but he has also played a lot of football since returning from his injury. 

I don't see Montgomery making the same decisions sub-wise that he did against Ross County. It backfired in that the team was disrupted which I think contributed to the Staggies' fightback. But we also know how much he likes having options on the bench who can potentially change a game's direction. He started Élie Youan on the bench for the 2-0 victory over St Johnstone - his sole victory in the league so far - but I can't honestly see him benching both Boyle and Youan as I think one has to start, and given events on Saturday, I think it's more likely to be the Frenchman. 

Given the players at his disposal, I think there's only really one obvious starting XI - the same one that Liam has identified. That being said, Jair Tavares starting against St Johnstone was a surprise, so I wouldn't rule anything out - such as Rory Whitaker starting on the right wing, and Youan being benched. Assuming the front four is Tavares, Whittaker, Boyle, and Dylan Vente, that gives Montgomery the options of Christian Doidge and Youan coming off the bench, which might be needed. Likely? Probably not, but under Montgomery, you just never know...