Hibs are ‘embarrassed’ by their predicament

Scott Robertson is sickened that Hibs have ended up in a relegation play-off
Scott Robertson is sickened that Hibs have ended up in a relegation play-off
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Scott Robertson today admitted there will be no cause for celebration should Hibs win their battle to stay in the Scottish Premiership – only an overwhelming sense of relief and the need to apologise to the Easter Road support for having put them through an emotional wringer.

Scott Robertson today admitted there will be no cause for celebration should Hibs win their battle to stay in the Scottish Premiership – only an overwhelming sense of relief and the need to apologise to the Easter Road support for having put them through an emotional wringer.

The Hibees’ fight to retain their top-flight status intensifies tonight with the first of two matches against Championship outfit Hamilton Accies.

With just one win in 18 league matches as well as a Scottish Cup exit at the hands of Raith Rovers, Robertson concedes that his side’s form since the turn of the year has been so poor they could consider themselves lucky to have this week’s double-header to save themselves from the spectre of relegation.

Hapless, hopeless and useless are just a few of the kinder epithets thrown at Terry Butcher’s side since defeat by Kilmarnock on the final day of the regular season consigned them to an 11th-place finish but Robertson insists he’s found the jibes easy to ignore.

He said: “I don’t think anything anyone says can hurt us more than being in the position we are in. No-one wanted to be in this position. Looking back just a couple of months it’s a bit embarrassing where we are at the moment.

“We felt we were pushing for the top six so it’s a bit egg on our faces that we didn’t do that and finished 11th.

“It’s dragged on a bit since the Killie match, you don’t want your season extended like this but it’s worked out that way and the boys are in good spirits considering everyone else is on their holidays.”

Robertson detects that many outsiders are enjoying Hibs’ plight, although he accepts that it’s only human nature to find on-form Hamilton being talked up at the expense of his own struggling side.

The Championship high-fliers have suffered just one defeat in 15 games, while the Capital outfit have been in freefall, but Robertson is adamant he and his team-mates can change all that over the 180 minutes of tonight’s game and Sunday’s return leg at Easter Road. He said: “I’d imagine a lot of what’s been said about us hasn’t been complimentary but I haven’t opened myself up to all that.

“I haven’t read the newspapers, watched television or listened to the radio. You have to deflect all the negative stuff and stay positive.

“People can say and write what they want but if we do win over the two ties they will be writing and saying different things about us so it’s up to us to make sure that’s the case.”

Rather than approaching the play-offs with any sense of trepidation, Robertson insists he is looking forward to the challenges ahead.

The 29-year-old said: “I’m not nervous to be honest, I’m ready. I said straight after the Killie game I wanted to play these games there and then.

“I just wished this one had been a bit sooner, it’s been bubbling away and I just want to get out there and get this season over and done with. It’s 11 months since we reported back for pre-season but that’s no excuse for how things have worked out.

“We are in this position through a combination of a lack of quality – not within the squad but in terms of our performances – of not taking chances created and not keeping enough clean sheets.”

Rediscovering those traits of being clinical and ruthless over the course of the next two games is, according to the midfielder, the answer to Hibs’ woes and he firmly believes he and his team-mates can do so even if rather belatedly.

He said: “We had all of that over the Christmas period, clean sheets, putting away the chances we were creating and picking up good results, translating it into points. We had a wee lull and we talked about it before the Ross County game which we won and then we talked about putting a few results together on the back of that.

“But since then it’s all been about ‘it’s only one win in so many games’ while we’ve been talking of going into games to win, of having a gameplan and trying to execute it, but it just didn’t happen.”

Suspensions and injuries which seemed to afflict one department of the team and then another didn’t help in Robertson’s estimation, the former Dundee, Dundee United and Blackpool star saying: “The good results came when we had a settled side, perhaps one change each week. But then there were three or four changes, we lost that consistency of selection which brings consistency of results.”

Hamilton, naturally, have been making plenty of noises about adding to Hibs’ troubles, as Robertson would expect, but he insists every single member of the Easter Road squad is well aware of the huge difference victory or defeat would bring for the respective clubs.

He said: “They’ll say they’ll be aiming for a quick start, to be taking the game by the throat and putting us under pressure. They’ll be as desperate to win as we are but it’s how we perform, how we dominate areas of the park, win our individual battles and whoever comes out on top will be the successful and the happier team come Sunday night. If we win, as we all believe we can, there will be nothing to celebrate as far as I am concerned. We feel we have to win and then basically apologise to the fans for getting ourselves into this position in the first place.”