Last midweek’s defeat to Hearts showed there is a very fine line between success and failure within 90 minutes of a football match. Had we taken the chances presented to us early on and had goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald not been in such top form, it might have just persuaded Pat Fenlon that his immediate future remained at Easter Road.
In the wake of his departure last Friday, he has given his assurances that he had already taken the decision to step down prior to our League Cup exit and that the time is right for someone fresh to come into the club as manager.
I can imagine this would have been a very tough decision to reach as there are not many bigger jobs within the game than that of manager of Hibs. I was a little taken aback by Pat Fenlon’s decision. Emotions can run high after any derby defeat both from supporters and players such is the rivalry between the clubs, and this merely intensified the pressure on the manager, pressure which was increasing given that we had lost at home to Aberdeen the previous Saturday.
The players themselves travelled to Fir Park yesterday with an understanding they are now fighting for their futures with a new manager set to be unveiled, hopefully in the next week or so. Individual performances will come under the radar and it is now up to the players to show their worth to the jersey.
The debate is now in motion as to who is the right man to succeed Pat Fenlon as manager and there is sure to be many possibilities put forward to Rod Petrie and his board. But make no mistake, this appointment must be carefully considered as jumping from one ship to another in such short periods of time has proven to be a recipe for disaster for many clubs in a similar position to ourselves. It may be time to look at obtaining a man with experience as his focal attribute and one with a proven track record at this level of the game. There are some tough decisions to be made at Hibs and we urgently need a figure who is capable of making these and getting us back on track to where we should be.
The gradual decline at the club is most concerning and to see such a small contingent of fans travel to Fir Park yesterday tells its own story. Once supporters have reached a decision not to attend games both home and away, this can become a difficult habit to break. Winning football matches is of course vital to success. We have had teams in the past that perhaps haven’t won as many games as we would have liked, but make no doubts about it, have entertained the paying customer.
The game yesterday was always going to be a close encounter between two sides both coming off the back of disappointing cup exits last midweek. I thought we deserved at least a point for our efforts but came up against a stubborn Motherwell outfit who also had something to prove to their own supporters.
The ball is just not breaking for us at the moment in the final third and this is the difference between being in the semi-final of the League Cup and also picking up some valuable points in the league. There are certainly some interesting days and weeks ahead for everyone connected with the club, but we will just have to remain patient and see how things develop. However, all we can hope for is that whoever does take up the position as manager places a different perspective on things at the club as it is plain to see that strong leadership is urgently needed from top to bottom.
We have heard some of the early frontrunners to emerge over the past few days but, at this moment in time, we should treat all candidates as pure speculation.