Michael Nelson today admitted that boss Terry Butcher has every right to wield the axe after watching Hibs bundled out of the Scottish Cup by Raith Rovers.
A furious Butcher branded the Edinburgh club’s performance as “unacceptable” as he awarded pass marks only to teenagers Sam Stanton and Duncan Watmore as they slumped to a 3-2 defeat by a side which hadn’t scored in its previous five matches.
Insisting it was “anyone’s guess” as to the team he’ll name for Saturday’s Scottish Premiership clash with Ross County, Butcher revealed every position was “up for grabs” with, presumably, the exception of Stanton and Watmore.
And today veteran defender Nelson had no quibbles with Butcher’s outburst, saying: “You cannot put in a performance like that and expect just to keep your shirt for the next week. The gaffer has every right to change the team any time he likes, but after a performance like that everyone should feel under threat.”
While Butcher confessed to being “baffled” by a display which led to a fourth successive defeat, one which, he agreed, undid much of the early progress made since he replaced Pat Fenlon in November, Nelson admitted Hibs had appeared “disjointed all over the pitch”.
He said: “As a team, we did not do the basics right. We did not have as much of a solid shape as we have done. It was obviously a disappointing performance, we were trying to get to the next round but our performance was not going to get us there on any day.”
Twice behind before half-time to goals from Kevin Moon and Dougie Hill, Hibs pegged their Championship opponents back on each occasion, Stanton netting his first goal for the club before Nelson himself powered home a header on the stroke of half-time. But while the vast majority of the 10,500 crowd expected Hibs to return for the second half in more determined mood, they fell behind again to Grant Anderson’s looping header and despite a late barrage on Raith’s goal during which Nelson hit the bar, they were unable to even force a replay. Nelson said of his equaliser: “It was a good time to get the goal so quickly after they had scored their second.
“We were thinking we were going in at half-time to regroup and would come out and try to get that win. But we never really upped our game in the second half and we did not really deserve to win the game.”
Handing all the plaudits to Raith, Butcher concurred with that assessment, adding: “Quite rightly our supporters were booing our players at the end because that performance was totally unacceptable and the players have been told that.”