‘It’s not true at all’ – Hibs refute claims from last weekend’s derby defeat by Hearts


Given that it would also be widely unexpected, even among many Hibees, there would be a huge sense of satisfaction within the dressing room if they could pull off the turnaround in fortunes needed to give the club their first-ever win over the Jambos at Hampden and oust the Gorgie club from the Scottish Cup whilst also moving beyond their eighth domestic semi-final since lifting the trophy in 2016.

Since the Tynecastle side dealt the final blow to Hibs’ top six ambitions in last weekend’s final league derby of the season, leaving cup glory as the only remaining means to redemption and European competition, the criticism has stung.

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But, with suggestions that too many in green-and-white chucked it, the management and players know that the only way they can soothe the pain and disprove that theory is by recapturing the form they showed in the opening 25 minutes of that game and finding a way to sustain those levels.

Jake Doyle-Hayes was part of the Hibs team that lost to Hearts last weekend.

“It is difficult to hear but it is definitely not true,” said midfielder Jake Doyle-Hayes. “I don’t think we have any players who would want to chuck it or who threw in the towel in that second half. It is definitely not nice to hear but we need to prove people wrong and show that it wasn’t the case.

“That’s definitely an incentive and the boys will be fuming hearing that stuff because it is not true at all. But Saturday gives us the opportunity to show people they are wrong.

“You understand the anger from the fans but at the end of the day it is up to us to show what we can do and we have good characters in the dressing room who can get the boys going and get morale lifted and everyone will be ready .”

Taking an early lead, the way they succumbed after Hearts netted just before and then just after the interval, has given observers cause to question the side’s mettle and the way they allowed the match to fizzle out after it went to 3-1 has eaten away at fans who expect better, especially against their derby rivals, and with so much at stake.

Hibs defender Harry Clarke does not regret leaving Ross County in January.

“I don’t think anyone wasn’t competing,” agreed Harry Clarke, who was used on the left last week but is happy to play anywhere across the back line or in a more advanced position. “It was that they came out on top in duels where we should have done better.

“Experience plays a part but it is still a man on man football match. So, yes, we could have been cleverer in a few things we didn’t do and we hope to do it this weekend.”

Scorer Drey Wright is a doubt after going off injured but Sylvester Jasper should be fit to start, with manager Shaun Maloney hinting at a few changes. One obvious one is the return of defender Ryan Porteous from suspension, with his manager valuing his competitive spirit and leadership qualities as well as his ability to play out from the back and get things moving.

“He is a big player for us and everyone is delighted to have him back,” said Doyle-Hayes. “He has a lot of experience as well. It’s great to have a player like him coming back in for the game.

Hibs’ players prepare for Saturday’s derby.

“The minimum that you need is to compete and we know that wasn’t good enough [last week]. The manager made it clear in the changing room after the game and we’ve been practicing hard this week and everyone is ready to compete and battle and that’s the main thing.”

But Clarke believes there are also several players capable of lifting the standards shown in the final stages of last week’s fixture.

“We had quality in the first half-hour last week and we could have put the game to bed because we had chances. We have loads of quality in the squad. It’s a good bunch of boys and we need to show that

“We definitely need to take confidence from it. [the start they made last week]. I thought we were all over them and they only had one chance in the first half hour. Now we have to do that for a longer period of time and then we have to see it out.”

The Arsenal loanee began his season at Ross County before switching allegiances to the Leith side in January. Out injured for a couple of months, things haven’t panned out as planned, with the Dingwall side pipping them to one of the top six berths.

“I don’t have any regrets in football. These things happen and that is football. I don’t think I have made the wrong decision. They did well and we didn’t get the results we wanted and I think we deserve to be in the bottom six.

But there is still one way he can vindicate his decision.

“Coming to a club like this that is potentially winning cups is something I want to do. I want to win cups and to play in these games is the reason why I play football.

“That is the added motivation.

“All we could think about this week is getting a reaction and the mood in the camp has been very good. I think we have learned from last week and we will take that into this week.

“Now it is all about us and how we are going to hurt them.”


www.scotsman.com

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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