Florian Kamberi underlines importance of Hibs’ sports psychologist as they look to shake mental fragility

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HIBERNIAN have ample expertise to call upon at their East Lothian training base.

There is manager Jack Ross, a swathe of coaches, a couple of strength, conditioning and sports medicine experts, and an impressive performance analysis department. Every inch the modern set-up.

However, Florian Kamberi believes an individual who is not even listed on Hibs’ official website could be pivotal to solving one of the capital club’s most persistent problems.

(Pic: Hibernian FC)

Kamberi has revealed that highly-respected sports psychologist John Marchant is on-call at the Hibernian Training Centre and – conceding that an alarming habit of throwing away leads is ‘in the head of the players’ – reckons it is common sense to knock on his door.

Ross County became the latest side to mount a comeback against Hibs on Wednesday, surging back from 1-0 down to claim a 2-1 triumph in Dingwall.

The Hibees have now surrendered 18 points from winning positions this season; considerably more than any other team in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

“We’ve conceded goals in the last few minutes to drop points quite often and that is something psychological,” said Kamberi. “Something is in the head of the players, in my opinion.

“We do have a sports psychologist [Marchant] here in the club. Whoever needs advice from him, his door is always open and that is a big positive in modern football.

“If you have any problems, it’s a privilege to have someone like him here so you can go and speak to him, get some help. We all know we can speak to him about any problems or to talk about our mentality.

“If you have the possibility to do better and have a person here who is a professional in dealing with the mental side of the game, you go and speak to him.

“And everyone here has to question himself – are you doing enough for the team?

“All the other stuff will come with hard work and patience.”

Frustrating

Kamberi admits the accusations that Hibs are soft do sting.

As well as the self-destructive habit of letting advantages slip, the Hibees have failed to keep a clean sheet in the Premiership since beating St Mirren on the opening day of the season.

But the former Grasshopper Zurich man is adamant there is only one way to respond to the critics.

Ahead of today’s visit of Aberdeen, Kamberi continued: “The only answer is to accept it – and try to do better next time. It’s never nice to have people question that [mental strength]. To get criticised is never nice.

“It’s frustrating to think that if we had just held on to a couple of leads we could have been third or fourth. But that’s just talk. The fact is we are now sixth.

“It’s not a bad position and we can’t look at what might have been – we have to look at what the future can bring.”

The future certainly looks brighter for Kamberi since the arrival of Ross.

The 24-year-old has previously stated that the former St Mirren and Alloa boss attempted to sign him while in charge of Sunderland, only for Kamberi to pen a permanent contract at Easter Road instead.

So it has been no surprise to see the classy front-man restored to the starting lineup in tandem with red-hot striker Christian Doidge in the opening weeks of Ross’s reign.

It is night and day from his bit-part role under previous manager Paul Heckingbottom, with Kamberi hinting that he was not trusted by the Englishman.

“I’ve had a few good chats with Jack and I know he trusts me on the pitch,” Kamberi added. “Everyone sees this now, and I can play my best football under him.

“I was never worried about myself [under Heckingbottom]. I knew all the time what qualities I have and what I could bring to the team – if I had the trust of the manager and he gave me a chance.

“If he didn’t give me a chance, I had to accept it. Of course I wasn’t happy. But it’s the manager’s decision, I respect it and accept it.

“I was always waiting for my chance and I showed, in the last few games, that I can bring qualities to the team and help us win games.”

**Flo Kamberi was speaking as Hibernian launched the sale of their half-season tickets, with details available on the club website.**

 
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