Kevin Thomson has jumped to the defence of under-fire boss Pat Fenlon by insisting the Easter Road players have to take reponsibility for Hibs’ poor start to the season.
Fenlon has found himself under mounting pressure with his future under question in some quarters after four matches, four defeats, 11 goals conceded and none scored in a run culminating in defeat by Capital rivals Hearts in the first Edinburgh derby of the season.
A 71st-minute header from Callum Paterson earned Gary Locke’s youngsters victory as they began to eat into the 15-point deficit imposed on them after the Gorgie outfit plunged into administration, a dozen points now the gap between them, Hibs and Ross County who also remain pointless after the first two matches of the new-look SPFL.
While bitterly disappointed, though, midfield ace Thomson argued that Hibs could easily have won both their opening games against Motherwell and Hearts rather than losing each by a single goal. He said: “We felt in the second half as if we had the upper hand and if we got a goal we would probably have gone on and won the game but unfortunately there was a great ball into the box and a great header.”
Thomson believes Fenlon has brought in “some good players” over the summer, six of them starting yesterday’s match but, he admitted, he was at a loss to explain why things haven’t clicked into place thus far. The former Rangers and Middlesbrough star, who signed a one-year deal having played the second half of last season for nothing as he returned to Hibs, said: “I don’t know what the answer is.
“I am working hard, trying to do the best I can and I think the effort is there for everyone to see. We’ve lost two games we could easily have won and are sitting on no points.”
While it’s only natural the focus should be on Fenlon, Thomson backed his boss, saying: “The manager is honest – he is happy to carry the can. But for me, it’s the players, the 11 he picks, that have to stand up and take a bit of responsibility.
“He is a good man. I think he has brought in some good players and we could have been sitting here with a good start to the season. Unfortunately we are not. The European games [against Malmo which resulted in a record 9-0 aggregate defeat] hung over us a wee bit. I wouldn’t say we are fragile, because we certainly are not, but it looks like we are desperate for three points to get the season up and running.”
Thomson and his team-mates greeted with boos once again on the final whistle, but he has no quarrel with the fans voicing their views. He said: “Fans are fans. They pay their money, they are entitled to their opinion. Some people will like the manager, some won’t, but he is big enough and brave enough to take the flak.”
Insisting that any question regarding Fenlon’s future was between him and Hibs chairman Rod Petrie, he added: “For players that does not involve us. But since I have been here, the three of four months of last season, the month of pre-season and the month so far at the start of the season, I think the manager is a great man and I think he is a good manager.
“As players we need to stick together and try to get some results and hopefully the manager will see the rewards of bringing in some good players.”