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Mallan: Hibs aim to kickstart season after winter break

The midfielder is working hard to regain his own form and says the team can succeed.

Stevie Mallan believes that Hibs can come back over the winter break rejuvenated and recapture their early season form, while he works to shine on a personal level.

The midfielder and his teammates are in Dubai for warm weather training during the Premiership shutdown and Mallan said it was a good point to reflect on a first half to the season that showed early promise before a relative slump in form that saw them fall to eighth place.

"It was a fast start, we got off to a really good start and it's kind of plateaud a little bit," he told STV. "The performances haven't been where we want as a club and at a personal level as well but all we can do is take this time away and look back, try to get together as a squad again. We'll look to kickstart the second half of the season on a high, like we did the first half.

Mallan's own form has mirrored that at the team, with signs of the exciting talent that prompted Barnsley to prise him away from St Mirren in 2017 but also having had some sub-par performances. Having experienced disappointment and a spell on the sidelines at Yorkshire, he said he wasn't the type to let his head go down and was at the right place to impress consistently.

"No matter what happens, I won't not want to train and play," he said. "But when you get tough times you do need to reflect. 

"That kind of fight will always be there because I've had that feeling before but now I'm at a club where I play most games and the managers likes playing me. I couldn't ask for any more.

"Now I need to start showing personally what I can do and help the boys out as well."

Looking ahead to the second half of the season, Mallan is optimistic that a few good results cuold transform Hibs' outlook. He pointed out that the competitive nature fo the Premiership this season meant that nobody was out of reach.

"It just shows you what's happening in this league," he said. "It's one of the things that made me want to come back to Scotland because I knew everyone is capable of an upset. 

"You saw it at the start with Livingston coming into play and it shows you the standard of the league just now.

"Everyone is so close and tight. Even though we're eighth I think we're only nine or ten points off the top.

"It just shows you that a couple of wins gets you right back up the board. That's what we can take as a positive going into the second half of the season. We're not so far away as people might think. That's a positive."

Whittaker still has a role to play

Hibs veteran Steven Whittaker says he's happy to have a mid-season break from the trials of the league season but he believes he still has plenty to give when the action starts again.

The experienced defender has returned to the club where he made his debut and is thoroughly enjoying his second spell at Easter Road. 

"I'm 34 now so I know I'm kind of getting on in my years in football terms," he told STV. "Hopefully I can still play some games, that's what I still want to do. And when selected then hopefully I can still do the job that's needed.

"There's a lot of young boys here that are learning their game and hopefully I can help them on their way and give them some advice and use my experience in that type of way as well.

"It's great to still be playing at the highest level and playing with a club like Hibs where it started to me. It was always a dream to come back here and play a few years at the end of my career. I'm really enjoying being with the club and playing with this group of boys. 

"So I can't ask for more. Obviously when I'm playing I'm still going to do the job and help these young guys and help the team when I can."

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