What Paul Hanlon told Hibs stars immediately after Hearts derby defeat as captain demands Scottish Cup reaction

Paul Hanlon led the latest post mortem inside a Hibs dressing room that once again hadn’t stepped up to the plate.

The raw hurt from a capitulation in the Edinburgh derby which consigned them to a bottom-six end of season going through the motions was clear.

That this humiliation happened at the home of their city rivals only compounded a situation which the Easter Road skipper wanted his team-mates never to forget.

After building an early platform to get the result they required to ensure a top half of the table spot, Shaun Maloney’s men crumbled to defeat which ensured a navel gazing few moments in the aftermath.

Hanlon admits he addressed his squad and urged them to suffer in the moment and use that pain as the catalyst to make sure there’s no repeat when the two sides go to war again for this Saturday’s Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden.

He said: “I just spoke there and said that we need to suffer a bit. I especially want the younger lads who are here to feel how sore it is so we know how big next week is.

“We need to come to the middle of this week and really focus on what we need to do better going into the semi. If we are going to win that one we need to be a hell of a lot better than we were today.

“It can obviously put us in a cup final which would be nice to be back there again. In terms of the league campaign, it’s disappointing. It’s not where we wanted to be.”

It had all started so well for Hibs after Drey Wright squeezed a shot into Craig Gordon’s far corner via a deflection off a Hearts defender’s leg and for 20 minutes the Leith side were in command.

Winning challenges, picking up second balls and playing inside the Hearts half and then all of that good work went out the window.

Slowly but surely the Jambos got their act together and started to dictate play, and they drew level on the stroke of half-time. Ellis Simms did the hard work by surging inside the box before laying the ball off to Andy Halliday who cracked a low shot past Matt Macey and the pendulum had swung.

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It went from bad to worse for Hibs moments after the restart as Peter Haring’s deep cross was slammed home by Stephen Kingsley and from that moment there was no way back for the Hibees.

Halliday had been goaded with ironic singing from the Hibs support and he rubbed salt in their wounds with a brilliant third before it was all over as Hearts guaranteed themselves third place in the Premiership and an enormous 19-point advantage over their city rivals.

That chasm is a clear sign of one club’s progress and another whose ambitions this season were dealt too big a blow with the sale of top scorer Martin Boyle to Saudi side Al-Faisaly – bottom six for the sake of a few bucks.

Hanlon was clear about the failure and admitted Tynecastle was just another repeat of a story which has been playing out for weeks.

He said: “It’s terrible. It’s not where we should be. We’ve had numerous chances over a number of weeks now to put ourselves in a far more comfortable position. It doesn’t just come down to this match.

“We’ve had loads of results where we should have picked up more points and we have not.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – APRIL 09: Hibs Manager Shaun Maloney during a cinch Premiership match between Hearts and Hibs at Tynecastle, on April 09, 2022, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group)

“It’s on us, really. It’s probably what we deserve.

“I would probably give us more than 20-25 minutes. In the first half we conceded later on but if we had come in at half-time 1-0 up it would have been a really positive team talk.

“It was still quite a positive team talk. We all felt we were still in the match. With hindsight now, it’s easy to say maybe it did affect us. The way we started the second half was terrible.”

Once again it was the invention and creative spark of Barrie McKay who provided the inspiration for Hearts as the outstanding player on the pitch.

What was most galling for Hibs was that lack of reaction to try and rescue their situation as Ross County’s late goal at Aberdeen confirmed their fate and Hanlon confessed he’s more than aware of their failings.

He said: “Hearts got themselves in a good position where they were in control. We didn’t do enough to cause more of a threat and maybe get it back to 3-2 with 10 minutes left. If we had there was still a chance of getting a draw.

“It’s disappointing but it’s just one of many aspects in the second half that were disappointing.

“We all say our bit at half-time. We say how we feel and the manager says his bit about him. We do our preparation and then within a couple of minutes it’s all changed again.

“If we knew it was coming you’d be able to fix it but it’s part of football. You are playing for 90 minutes and you need to be ready for that first whistle. We definitely switched off and it was costly.

“It’s hard to tell what the issue was. There were parts of the game where Hearts played better than us and showed a bit more quality and in other parts we could have been stronger. There’s probably a mixture of different things.”


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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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