Shaun Maloney invited Hibs greats Pat Stanton and Paul Kane to lunch with the current Easter Road team yesterday in a bid to inspire them ahead of tonight’s Edinburgh derby.
And the Hibees manager has vowed to continue asking past legends to join them as he tries to reestablish the ties he believes have been lost over time.
Maloney insists Stanton and Kane weren’t at Tranent’s headquarters to beat the drums ahead of Hearts’ visit tonight, but their presence provided a timely boost after the weekend’s loss to Livingston.
He said: “I invited quite a few former players to training camp this week and I am very happy that they have accepted the invitation. Pat Stanton and Paul Kane, we had today in training.
“I enjoyed hearing the stories they had about their positive experiences and less positive experiences.
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“That’s definitely something we’ll try to continue, not just for derby games but for all games.
“The more former players, who have achieved great things for our club, are around, the better. That connection may have been lost in recent years.
“But it coincided with the derby, so it was a good moment.
“My players have been very respectful. These guys have an incredible history at the club.
“I’ve had Pat here many times, but it was nice to see Paul Kane.
“It was just hearing their experiences and it wasn’t just about the derby. With some of the coaches they’ve played with, it was also quite interesting to hear his experiences as players here.
“This club has incredible moments in its history and we have to embrace them and celebrate them, and they have to be part of the club for a long time.”
Maloney, who will taste an Edinburgh derby for the first time on Tuesday night, is looking to leave a marker that his club are capable of bridging the gap between the two capital clubs.
He said: “The intensity of the game is obviously higher because of the crowd.
“It’s completely different from a normal game. That is seen in many derbies, not only in this country.
“So that brings a speed or physicality to the game early on that we have to prepare for, but there are still some of the same basics and fundamentals that you have to do in any other game.
“We have to try to play through the pressure as much as possible and we have to defend and be as strong defensively as we were before the Livingston game. We have to be like that against Hearts.
“I understand where the team was when I took over, where they are now and where I hope to be. This time next season I hope to be in a very different place.
“Hearts have been very strong this season – you’ve done a good job, Robbie (Neilson), and for the next six to 12 months it’s my job to make sure that I bridge that gap and fight like hell to make sure we’re fighting for that.” third place next year.
“I understand that in derbies and cup finals the results are the beginning and the end. Before and during these games, as a coach you have to think about performance in certain areas, but the magnitude of the result obviously overrides most things.
“From a coach’s point of view, you can’t always focus on the result, but I understand how important this game is.”