Ian MURRAY has revealed the sacking of Hibs boss Colin Calderwood came as something of a surprise – even although the Easter Road outfit’s results have been poor.
A home defeat by Dunfermline sealed Calderwood’s fate, the former Scotland defender sacked barely 24 hours later after 13 months in charge of the Edinburgh club, leaving him with a record of 26 losses in 49 matches.
The Pars victory came on the back of a win away to St Mirren and a score-less draw at Celtic Park, results which had suggested Hibs were beginning to turn the corner after a miserable start to the season. But the Easter Road board moved swiftly after Austin McCann’s goal left the club just one point off bottom place in the SPL, the hunt now well underway for the man they believe can take them clear of the danger zone.
However, if the warning signs had been there for some time, club captain Murray claimed Calderwood’s departure had come as something of a shock although he admitted he and his team-mates felt they had let their former boss down. The 30-year-old said: “I think we were all sad because I think we let him down with the results. The one against Dunfermline was poor. I think everyone was a wee bit surprised but equally we know results have not been good enough and ultimately we know it’s the manager that has to pay the price.”
And Murray conceded inconsistency had been at the root of Hibs’ problems. He said: “There have been games we have played really well in and games in which we have been really poor.
“Our consistency levels have been shocking really and that’s all down to the players. I know it’s the old saying about when you cross the white line, but there’s not a lot the manager can do. He can instil all the confidence and belief he wants but once you go out and start playing erratically as we have been, results won’t come. The good teams will always grind our results, but that’s not what we are doing.”
Unsurprisingly, caretaker boss Billy Brown has already set to work endeavouring to make Hibs a harder team to beat, the side he inherited from Calderwood, below, having been viewed by many as being a soft touch in regards to the ease with which opposition sides find their way to goal. And Murray agreed that’s a matter which needs addressed with a degree of urgency, Hibs having conceded 22 goals in their 14 league matches so far, a figure which far exceeds the 14 scored and an obvious factor in their slide towards the foot of the table.
However, he insisted there was no magic wand to be waved, the only remedy being more hard work on the training ground. He said: “We need to stop conceding silly goals. We have conceded very similar goals all season, a lot of crosses into our box. I think the main thing is that everyone works hard, that should be a ‘gimme’ every time. We’ve got the ability and we know we have got the ability, but we can only say that for so long.”
Brown has also revealed he’s approached training in a slightly different manner to that of Calderwood but, Murray agreed, the fundamentals had to come from the players themselves.
He said: “Training has been good, it’s gone well and everyone has looked sharp. I would probably say it has gone up a little bit but that comes with anybody coming in.
“People are trying to get into the team, people are trying to keep their place in the team. A change of face will always bring out a bit higher tempo. It was the same when the last manager came in, for the first two weeks the tempo will be crazy and then it will suddenly dive back down again.
“I’ve been around a little bit longer, I’ve seen the two sides with Alex McLeish and Andy Watson liking their training to be a high tempo with hard tackles and I’ve seen the other side with Franck Sauzee and Paul Le Guen who didn’t want tackling. You work yourself to what the manager wants.
“But it’s all down to the players, Billy could have us all in 24 hours a day, five days a week but come Saturday, if the players don’t want to do it, they won’t do it. It’s as simple as that,
“It’s all about the players, we have to go out as a group together and, first and foremost, work hard. It’s quite simple, it’s like any job, if you don’t do the work you don’t get the results.
“We have to get the work done before we even try to think about playing football.”
While insisting it’s time for the team to pull together, Murray also declared each and every individual within the Easter Road dressing-room had to take a close look at themselves – himself included.
He said: “I know when I’ve done well and not done well, I’m sure the guys in there, if they are honest with themselves, will certainly know that the game against Dunfermline was not acceptable.”