John Collins reveals real reason he stripped Kevin Thomson of captaincy at Hibs

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JOHN COLLINS claims he stripped Kevin Thomson of the captaincy at Hibs because he failed to show up for a derby game against Hearts.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, Collins, who led Hibs to League Cup glory in March that year, said: “He was captain when I arrived and he was removed as captain.

“Very simple, this story has never come out why he was removed. 

“We were playing Hearts and Kevin came in with a sore back, ‘can’t play’. 

“I said: ‘fine Kevin, have a shower then join us at the team hotel for pre-match and then come to Tynecastle’.

“We head to the team hotel, had pre-match and head to Tynecastle, Kevin doesn’t turn up.

“Monday morning meeting, ‘Kevin, why did you not come with your teammates to Tynecastle, ‘aw, you get a lot of hassle there’. 

“I said, ‘okay, so the manager tells you to have a shower and join your team-mates at the team hotel and come to the derby and he doesn’t turn up’.

“These are the kind of things I’ve got to deal with. Does he retain the captaincy? A captain has a responsibility and he’s to behave like a captain and in that instance, he never behaved like a captain.

“But he’s had a pop at me a few times in the paper for taking the captaincy off him. 

“But he got his big move and that’s what he wanted. I understand young players wanting big moves and big money but there is a time and place and right way of doing it.”

Collins also did not see eye-to-eye with fellow midfielder Michael Stewart and claimed that relationship deteriorated after he knocked back his request for the players to be given a longer night out during the warm-weather training camp in Spain before the 2007 cup final victory over Kilmarnock.

Collins, who famously saw off a players revolt after the squad arranged a secret meeting with then-chairman Rod Petrie to air their grievances about the manager just weeks after the final, added: “Then there is the fall out with Michael. I gave him a free transfer the month before the end of the season.

“We got to our Spanish training camp, the players had dinner, they head down the town and I said: ‘be back in the hotel for half-past nine’. 

“Michael phoned one of the coaches and asked if they could stay out later, I said ‘no, we had training the next day’. 

“That’s when – shall we say – the heads dropped, they weren’t happy and made it aware to the coaching staff they weren’t happy they did not get their night out.

“And after that, the relationship between myself and Michael didn’t get any better, for me he showed a bit of disrespect but that was his choice.” 

He added: “The positive was Hampden and the performance of the team that day. That’s what I take from my time at Hibs, that outstanding performance and memory.”

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