Hibs respond to flak over player break

Easter Road

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Hibs defended the decision to give the Easter Road squad a four-day break as the players returned for training today for the first time since boss Colin Calderwood was axed.

Calderwood’s assistant, Billy Brown, was waiting at the club’s East Mains base to take training having been appointed caretaker manager as the board of directors begin their search for the former Scotland defender’s successor.

Before being axed, however, Calderwood sanctioned an extended break for his players given they don’t have another SPL match until the visit of Kilmarnock a week on Saturday, this weekend having been given over to international football.

However, just 24 hours after the 1-0 defeat by Dunfermline had left Hibs just one point off the bottom of the table, chairman Rod Petrie and his fellow directors agreed Calderwood, with a record of 26 defeats in 49 matches, had to go.

The issue was raised by one irate shareholder at the club’s agm who described it as “galling” that the players were enjoying such a break when performances had been “atrocious.”

Asking how the directors felt it looked, the team losing on the Saturday and yet being off until the Thursday, he claimed players at other clubs in similar positions were, in stark contrast, being asked for extra in the shape of double training sessions.

But while appearing to share some sympathy with that viewpoint, Hibs’ executive director, Scott Lindsay, said the arrangements had been made before Saturday’s result was known.

And, he insisted, to have questioned Calderwood’s judgment would have been seen as interference from above when the manager had total control of the squad.

Pointing out Hibs had hired a “top notch” fitness coach in Jim Hendry to monitor and advise on the players’ well-being, Lindsay said: “If we have to tell the manager when players are coming in need of a rest that is interference.

“It’s not for someone like me to tell the manager or the head of performance, that would be interfering.”

Meanwhile, former Dunfermline, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock boss Jimmy Calderwood has confirmed his interest in the vacant managerial post at Easter Road, as has ex-Manchester United and Rangers defender Henning Berg.