A tricky test awaits Hibs on Saturday as they kick off a run of away fixtures with a trip to Dundee.

Nick Montgomery's side prevailed 1-0 over Kilmarnock before the international break, and are looking to secure back-to-back Premiership victories for the first time this season. These teams met at Easter Road back in October, with neither able to break the deadlock on the day.

Here, we look at what Hibs can expect from a team in good form.


Dundee have been the surprise package so far in this season's Premiership. There has been a stark contrast between this iteration and the last Dens Park outfit to play in the top-flight, one which succumbed to relegation with a whimper under James McPake and, latterly, Mark McGhee.

With Tony Docherty now in charge, however, and with some shrewd recruitment, nobody is currently predicting a swift return to the Championship for the Taysiders. The teams squared off in Leith earlier this season, and although Hibs created more than enough opportunities to win the game, Dundee departed with a hard-earned point.

Before the international break, they smashed four past a previously high-flying St Mirren, lifting themselves into the league's top six. Hibs fans will expect three points on their travels this weekend but make no mistake, this will be a serious test for Montgomery's players.

How do they set up?

If we take the reverse fixture as reference, Dundee lined up with a back five, a midfield three, and two strikers. They primarily sought to hit Hibs on the counter, with the running power of on-loan Liverpool left-back Owen Beck providing a useful outlet on the day, and an industrious midfield comprising Malachi Boateng, Luke McCowan, and Lyall Cameron supporting strikers Zak Rudden and Amadou  Bakayoko.

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Hibs like to build play through the full-back areas, primarily with Lewis Miller on the right. When the ball arrived with Miller, Boateng would step across to close him down, with Rudden dropping in to shadow Jimmy Jeggo. Their aim was to funnel Hibs towards the touchline and crowd the area to deny space. They were also alert to Adam Le Fondre's tendency to drift into pockets between midfield and attack, and in the example below, McCowan steps across to cut out Miller's attempted pass into the striker.

Hibs Observer:

From there, they would then look to counter quickly into the space behind the Hibs full-backs. Note how as soon as McCowan intercepts Miller's pass, Rudden immediately darts into the channel. The striker had dropped in close to Jeggo, but it seemed a deliberate tactic to not quite go goalside of the midfielder, - perhaps knowing he was unlikely to burst forward - allowing Rudden to immediately run off him when possession changes hands. On this occasion, Hibs counter press to stop Dundee in their tracks, but the intent from the visitors was clear.

Hibs Observer:

Hibs accumulated 2.56 expected goals in this match, but that number was boosted significantly by opportunities from set-pieces. Their open play xG was a modest 0.073, which suggests Dundee's defensive setup on the day was an effective one.

It's a well-drilled shape, and Hibs will be required to work hard to unsettle it. Montgomery's side didn't do enough to disrupt it last time, with very few clear-cut chances created from open play. To do so this time, they must be more incisive, and willing to make stretching runs beyond. Even when Hibs did get into good areas, there were so often still a mass of dark blue jerseys between the ball and Trevor Carson's goal.

In their defeats to Celtic and Rangers this season, Dundee were gradually overwhelmed by quick rotations and attackers' willingness to run behind, and it's a lead Hibs must follow. Docherty and his players will be absolutely content should their visitors merely move the ball around in front of them.

What are they good at?

What's immediately striking from Dundee's attacking overview is they have a high set-piece xG, and they focus on getting plenty of crosses into the box. The latter stat isn't too surprising for a side who play with high-energy wing-backs, and two strikers.

Hibs Observer:

Two of their four goals against St Mirren came from corners: the first when Bakayoko won the initial contact, then reacted first to the second ball to drill home a low finish. For the second, Ricki Lamie gets across his man at the near post, and his header richoted off the hand of a St Mirren defender to win a penalty.

In Lamie, Joe Shaughnessy and Juan Antonio Portales, they have three experienced, physically-imposing centre-backs who can cause havoc in opposition boxes. In midfield, McCowan and Cameron are good technicians who also have the legs to break forward, while Boateng is a composed anchorman who uses the ball well. Rudden is the archetypal 'pest' of a striker, while Bakayoko has been growing in stature game-by-game. His hat-trick against Saints was capped with a wonderful dinked finish.

READ MORE: What Nick Montgomery told Jair to help kickstart his Hibs revival

At left wing-back, Beck has been a revelation since moving north from Anfield for the season. He had a particularly strong first-half at Easter Road, causing Hibs problems with driving runs from deep. What was particularly noticeable about his play, though, is that even as a left-footed player playing on the left, and with the opportunity to drive down the flank, his preference was to feint and cut inside every time, as shown in the examples below. In the third image, Hibs are wise to it and crowd him out, and it will be interesting to observe how Miller handles him on Saturday.

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Key to upsetting any side playing with three centre-backs is being able to exploit any gaps in between them. Dundee's central defensive trio is vastly experienced, but they do not possess a great deal of recovery pace.

Both Celtic and Rangers were able to capitalise on this, with strikers willing to go beyond to find space. In the first example below, a gap opens on the right and is ruthlessly exploited by Kyogo Furuhashi, the pass turning the Dundee backline to rush towards their own goal, which creates space for Matt O'Riley to arrive late into the box, and latch on to his team-mate's cut-back.

Hibs Observer:

Against Rangers, Leon Balogun driving out from defence gives Dundee a real problem, and he finds the advancing Abdallah Sima, who makes a similar run to Kyogo. Sima's drive across goal is saved by Carson, but the ball drops to Ryan Jack for a simple tap-in. In the likes of Elie Youan and Martin Boyle, Hibs will feel they have players who can cause similar problems.

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That being said, Dundee are not an easy nut to crack. They have kept cleans sheets in five of their last six outings, and will be brimming with confidence in front of their own fans, at what is always a tricky venue.