Hibs boss warns players they will be changes unless they show they can roll up their sleeves


Hibs head coach Paul Heckingbottom has warned his players they face being dropped from the team unless they prove they are capable of rolling up their sleeves and winning ugly.

The Englishman was quick to acknowledge that their ‘pretty’ football got them nowhere in the 3-0 defeat at Motherwell on their last outing.

So furious were some sections of the travelling support that they called for the 42-year-old to stand down during that loss

However, former Leeds United and Barnsley manager Heckingbottom, whose side have amassed four points from as many Ladbrokes Premiership games, insists it is up to the players to show a different side to their game.

Heckingbottom said: “I said after the Motherwell game that we looked like a pretty team who got beat. 

“We want to be able to win games and perform consistently. 

“Towards the back end of last season we won a couple of games ugly. You could still say we deserved to win them but we still had to dig in – but we’ve not won one like that yet. 

“We’ve won one (against St Mirren) when we’ve been by far the best team and we’ve lost one against Motherwell where we passed the ball well but still got hammered.

“You can’t blame the guys in defence as it all starts from the front. 

“We need more from the front players, the pressure they put on the ball to try and win it back, more cover in midfield. 

“I speak to the players regularly, that if you make three mistakes in a row you’re going to concede a goal. 

“We need to get back to, ‘I’ve made a mistake but my mate behind covers for me’. 

‘I make a mistake, my mate behind can’t cover it but the goalkeeper saves it’. 

“That’s what we need and we’ve not done that as often enough.

“Not everyone will be comfortable doing that. If you’re not comfortable doing it you’re going to limit your game time. 

“We’ll keep working on the training pitch but the teams we pick and the players being dropped will reflect that as well.” 

Heckingbottom, whose side travel to Kilmarnock tomorrow, also concedes that part of the reason for their underwhelming start could be down to the fact that seven of his ten new summer arrivals had no previous experience of the Scottish game.

Heckingbottom, who recruited former St Mirren and Ross County right-back Jason Naismith on loan from Peterborough on deadline day, added: “I expect them to be winning from game one because it’s a game of football.

“But we have to make sure we have things in place to help them settle and help them do that.

“The Scottish game is different, the game is different and there are that many variations of how people play for such a small league with 12 teams. 

“It’s refereed differently, it is a different product. You’re just crossing the border so it’s not like playing abroad but it’s a totally different type of football, just like if you were going across to the continent. 

“There are those adaptations but that’s all they are, it’s still the same game.”

Heckingbottom, however, is confident Naismith will have no problems readjusting to the Premiership.

He added: “We hope Jason will make a difference but it’s a big ask for him to come in and solve problems. 

“He has a reputation up here for being a character who is fully committed, 100 per cent, will defend and put his body on the line. Everyone speaks highly of him. 

“We were struggling in that position with David Gray and Tom James being out and it was a case of, lets act.”