Hibs midfielder Andrew Shinnie admits he is having to get used to playing regular first team football following a frustrating spell south of the border.
The on loan Birmingham City playmaker delivered arguably his best performance of the season in last weekend’s 3-1 victory at Dunfermline after conceding that he had been struggling for form.
The 27-year-old’s only three appearances during the second half of last term came during a temporary spell at Rotherham.
Speaking ahead of today’s Championship visit of St Mirren, Shinnie said: “The last few weeks have been a bit difficult, personally and as a team.
“I think playing every week was a part of it, I hardly played any football last season, which I kind of forgot about coming in this season.
“Getting your match fitness and your sharpness back can take a bit of time.
“I hadn’t felt the sharpest the last few weeks but I can feel it coming as the weeks have gone on and I felt strong towards the end of the game last week.
“I can feel it coming back. As a team we weren’t picking up results so it’s a collective thing really.”
The win over the Pars has left Hibs three points clear of Dundee United at the Championship summit but Shinnie concedes that every match is a huge test for the Leith outfit.
He added: “I think it is more difficult for us to play in The Championship, as weird as it sounds.
“If we were in the top league teams would think they could come and beat us and come and attack us.
“But in The Championship teams will sit in and frustrate us and frustrate the fans and make us suffer a bit, and then they’ll catch us on the counter.
“We have to find ways to break them down, whether it’s crosses in the box or playing through teams or playing it over the top.
“But we need a find a way to win the league and get promoted, that’s all we can do.
“We started so well and I think everyone from the outside thought, ‘they’ll win most games, they’ll cruise the league, it’s too easy!’
“It’s not easy. A few people have said that it will be wrapped up by Christmas, ‘they’ll go unbeaten’. It’s not easy playing these teams.
“It sounds funny but they raise their game to play against us, they want to challenge themselves against us.
“We are the biggest team in the league so we’ve got to be able to cope with that because it’s going to happen most weeks.”