Pat FENLON today urged his players not to allow their season to “fizzle out” after seeing their impressive start to the season stall.
The Easter Road outfit have won just one of their past ten SPL matches, taking only seven points out of a possible 30, with the latest setback being a 3-1 defeat at home to St Johnstone which resulted in Hibs slipping to fifth place in the table.
Despite the recent disappointments, Fenlon believes Hibs, who have a William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final clash with Kilmarnock to look forward to, have made considerable progress over the course of recent months after finishing second bottom last season.
Nevertheless, he is now demanding that all that good work isn’t allowed to unravel, pointing out that in a league where a mere nine points separate second top from second bottom, a few positive results can have a massive impact, although he’s equally aware that if his side continue their current run of form they risk sliding even further down the rankings.
As he prepares to take his players to face St Mirren, Scottish Communities League Cup finalists but lying in 11th place, Fenlon said: “That’s the madness of this league, isn’t it?
“You win and you bounce up a place, lost and you can drop two or three places. It’s a peculiar league. The last thing we want to do is just fizzle out, go through the motions and think we are all right. I think that is the key after Monday, to make sure that does not happen.
“We’ve spoken about it at training. I am not here for just sitting around and letting the season peter out, that’s not something we want. We have to make sure we are here for a reason and the reason is to try to make this club better.
“We have done that to a point but we have to keep going now because what we have done previously won’t count for anything if we do not kick on.”
The nature of the defeat by Saints, after which Fenlon branded his players’ performance “unacceptable”, was such that the Hibs manager endured a sleepless night and was up watching a DVD of the 90 minutes at 6am the following morning. He said: “I’m not one for loads of video stuff but I do look at it and pick out things. The fact I watched it at six in the morning probably didn’t help but you are looking for things to tweak and put right. I think all football managers take their work home. You’re never away from it. You are constantly thinking ‘how can I get an advantage somewhere and do things differently?’”
Needless to say, it didn’t prove a particularly pleasant experience for Fenlon. “It was horrible, but that’s football,” he said. “It’s not the first time or the last time I suppose I’ll do that and I’m sure I’m not the only one. It’s a horrible game at times. You are up there and then you’re down in your boots.
“It wasn’t good enough but to be fair it’s not happened too many times. We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”