Pat Fenlon today insisted self-belief has been the key to Hibs’ recent revival after the Easter Road boss refused to panic following a dismal start to the season.
The Irishman shrugged off calls for him to be sacked in the wake of the Europa League debacle against Malmo which was followed in quick succession by defeats in the opening two games of the Scottish Premiership, Hibs going down 1-0 to Motherwell and then Capital rivals Hearts.
But now Hibs go into tomorrow’s clash with struggling St Mirren seeking to stretch their unbeaten run to five matches with the pressure now mounting on Buddies manager Danny Lennon rather than Fenlon.
Having gone through what Lennon is currently being subjected to so recently, Fenlon admitted he can empathise with the former Easter Road midfielder, but insisted the key to his own side’s turnaround was in keeping faith in his own principles.
He said: “You have to make sure you have a belief in what you want to do and you have to stick with that. If you start chopping and changing, it can cause a problem. What we have done is just continue to work hard, get our heads down and work away.
“We have a good group of players – the best group I have had since I have been here – and good staff. The season obviously did not start well for us, but we just continued to work tremendously hard to get it right and I think you can see that over the last couple of games.
“We are not saying we are brilliant at the moment, but we are getting better. We have battled, scrapped and played a litle bit at times. When you are in a bit of bad form you need to roll your sleeves up and I feel we have done that up to a point.”
Fenlon also admitted he’d had to be thick skinned to withstand the vitriol hurled in his direction, but claimed it came with the territory. He said: “As a manager you have to face these things, it’s just the way the game has gone. Everybody wants something different but it’s just part of management. Once you step into that job if you do not accept that’s coming then you are going to have a problem.
“People all have opinions but you cannot get bogged down in them. The opinion that should matter is probably your own and you have to make sure you stick by what you are trying to do as a manager.
“You know you will get good times when everybody wants to be your pal, everybody pats you on the back and everybody tells you this is great. Lose a few games, though, and it’s the end of the world so you just have to be able to deal with it.
“You have to put it to the back of your mind, focus on what you are supposed to be doing rather than be caught up in it.”
To that end Fenlon admitted that for all Saints’ problems – they have managed just one point from their opening five matches – he’ll be taking nothing for granted tomorrow.
He said: “I think they have some good players and you are always wary of facing a team that’s on a poor run. But we have to make sure we concentrate on ourselves. We got a good result last week, we have to try to build on that and keep the run going. The more you win games, the more people get confident and get more belief.”