Hibs goalkeeper Ben Williams today insisted future success at Easter Road will be based on a rock-solid defence.
Successive managers have lamented the loss of too many “soft” goals, Hibs conceding 67 as they slumped to 11th in the SPL table last season, 61 the previous year and losing 55 the year before that despite taking fourth place.
But now, the 29-year-old revealed, the determination is that Hibs become much tougher to beat as he works on a daily basis with what appears to be boss Pat Fenlon’s favoured back four – Tim Clancy, James McPake, David Stephens and Paul Hanlon – to make opposition teams work harder for their goals.
He said: “I am of a viewpoint that no matter what kind of a goal it is there’s always something you can look to at some point as avoidable. I’m not saying we are not going to concede goals, of course we will. There’s not a team in the world that doesn’t but it’s about getting harder to beat, conceding fewer goals and working to eradicate the soft goals that comes through individual errors.”
The acid test for Fenlon’s new-look side comes on Sunday when they face Dundee United in their opening SPL match but while, given the disappointments of the past two seasons, Williams insisted a turnaround in Hibs’ fortunes won’t come overnight, he revealed he and his team-mates are looking for a dramatic improvement.
He said: “I don’t know the ins and outs of what has been a tough 18 months but from speaking to the manger and the way the lads are, we are looking to improve on last year dramatically. It’s a young squad and we are not going to jump to second place but we are looking to improve on last year and if we can get into the top six that will be an improvement and we do feel we have a chance of doing that.”
Meanwhile, Hearts’ visit to Easter Road has been rescheduled for Sunday, August 12, with a 12.30pm kick-off.