No more Mr Nice Guy as Hibs No.2 Garry Parker warns underperforming stars they are playing for their futures

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

GARRY PARKER, by his own admission, is the more sedate half of Hibernian’s management team. The calming Ying to Neil Lennon’s firebrand Yang. However, the Englishman has officially run out of patience. 

Hibs’ assistant head coach has endured sleepless nights as a result of a miserable seven-game winless run that has seen the capital club sink from second place in the Premiership to eighth in the space of two months.  

The carrot has not been successful in sparking a revival so it is evidently time for the stick. 

Parker has indicated that Hibs are more than ready to dip into the transfer market next month, effectively warning his underperforming players that they have three weeks to prove their worth.

Gauntlet laid down, he has demanded a response against Hamilton today. 

“They’re playing for their futures,” said Parker candidly. “If you’re not performing, you don’t play and if we have to bring players in, they’ll be under pressure. We need to do something about this.

“We know what sort of players that we need to bring to play the type of football that we want to play. We’ll need to speak to the board and hopefully get backed because we do need to improve and we do need a better squad. 

“In the meantime the guys here need to respond. We’re just not performing. We did at the start of the season, now we’ve gone off the boil and are not playing well – at Kilmarnock last weekend, we were terrible. 

“We came in here, got us out of the Championship, finished fourth last year – but we’ve gone backwards.”

Parker added ruefully: “Neil [Lennon] is definitely the scarier of us. I try to keep it calm, but recently it’s been getting to me, as you can tell! I’ve not slept for a couple of weeks now because these results are doing my head in.

“Results and performances caused the patience to snap. If they are not doing what’s required time and again then you have to take the harder approach. They played so well at the start of the season, they don’t become bad players overnight. It is in there. They just need to start showing it, now.”

Misfiring attacker Flo Kamberi was in Parker’s sight following another low-key, goalless showing in Wednesday evening’s 2-2 draw against St Mirren and has now gone five games without finding the net.

Jamie Maclaren, similarly, has scored just once since returning to the club. 

And while Parker was unrepentant in his midweek assessment of Kamberi, he is adamant there is plenty of blame to go around. 

“You could say the same thing about both Flo [Kamberi] and Jamie Maclaren,” he continued. “Last year they did brilliant for us, we brought them back – everybody was happy and we started off alright.

“But at the moment they are going through a bad patch so we need to turn that round.

“Flo has trained okay, we’ve spoken to him and some of the players have spoken to him. But it’s not just him, it’s everybody – from defence all the way through. We’re a team and we just need to turn it around.

“Flo’s an important player to us. When he’s up front and he’s on it, putting himself about, he’s a threat and he needs to get back to doing that.”

Scotland under-21 striker Oli Shaw was the beneficiary of Kamberi and Maclaren’s travails against St Mirren, coming into the side and taking his opportunity by notching his fourth goal of the season to end a four-month drought.  

He insists there is a healthy sense of camaraderie among the front-men as they aim to meet to lofty expectations of leading the line for Lennon and

Parker, while praising the man-management behind the scenes. 

(Pic: HibsTV)

“The management team will pull individuals aside and tell them what they want from them and try and breed confidence in them,” said the promising forward.

“When the gaffer pulls you in it’s always constructive. He tells you good things and negative things that you need to work on.

“There’s always pressure on attackers to score goals. That’s our job and, as a striker, you do feel the pressure at times. Confidence is a big thing,and if you’re not scoring goals your confidence levels drop. 

“We all stick together and help each other with our game. We work together every day, give each other praise and tell each other what we should be doing differently.”

Hibs will be without key duo Paul Hanlon and David Gray against Hamilton due to injury, while combative midfielder Marvin Bartley is expected to miss out due to a hamstring strain. 

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