ALAN STUBBS today vowed to banish the pain of relegation and turn Hibs into a team of winners again, telling his players: “There’s nothing better than getting a standing ovation from your fans at 4.45 on a Saturday.”
The new Hibs boss admitted the depleted squad he has inherited will undoubtedly still be suffering a hangover from the trauma of their play-off defeat by Hamilton which sent them crashing into the Championship where they face stiff competition from the likes of Capital rivals Hearts and Rangers for the title and that one automatic promotion place.
But the 42-year-old insisted there was no time for any of them to feel sorry for themselves, adamant that there’s no point dwelling on the past and that they should, instead, be solely focused on regaining that winning habit which clearly deserted the club through a calamitous second half of the season.
Stubbs himself knows the suffering relegation brings having endured it himself at Bolton, recalling that experience as “horrendous”, but he’s determined the agony visited upon the Edinburgh outfit and their players should be replaced by both ecstasy and pride.
He said: “There is no-one in that dressing room who won’t have felt the pain of relegation. Maybe some people show it in a different way, but I experienced it once and the one thing I wanted to make sure was it never happened to me again.
“I’ll be speaking to each of them individually to talk about it and to show them how to put it right because the one thing is that football always throws you another opportunity.
“There are players who have left who won’t have that opportunity, but those that are still here will have an opportunity to do something about it.”
Insisting he will back each of his players 100 per cent provided they give him that same level of commitment, the former Everton Under-21 coach continued: “I want to work with them to get it right, that’s the main focus. We know what has happened, we can’t do anything about that now. but we can do something about the future.
“The most important thing is getting confidence back. Any that are feeling sorry for themselves ... there’s no place for it here because the season is going to be upon us and we have a job to do.”
Stubbs is aware of the torment relegation has caused the supporters with a campaign having been launched to oust chairman Rod Petrie,
but while unwilling to comment on events which took place before his arrival, he said: “It’s up to us to create that feelgood factor on the pitch.
“I’ve been a fan myself and there’s nothing better than coming to watch your team and walking away at 4.45 on a Saturday with your team having won. I took huge satisfaction from that as a player and now I canot wait to sample it as a manager. I know that’s going to happen and I want the players to get used to winning again. I want them to feel what it’s like to win games of football again.
“There’s no better feeling in footall than winning, seeing your fans giving you a standing ovation at the end of the game because of how well you played.”