Hibs midfielder Liam Craig has hailed the impact that new manager Alan Stubbs has had on the club, saying he’s keen to remain at Easter Road and help spearhead the Hibees’ promotion push.
Craig was told by previous manager Terry Butcher that he could find a new club following Hibs’ relegation from the Premiership despite the Englishman making Craig club captain, but the 27-year-old is embracing the training methods and philosophies of Stubbs, insisting it feels “all new” at the club.
“It wasn’t just suggestions [that Butcher had told Craig to find another club], that was the case,” said Craig in the wake of Hibs’ 4-0 friendly win over Vale of Leithen over the weekend. “If he was still here then there might have been another 11 or 12 of us not here. To be fair, I said at the end of last season that if none of us were here then we could have no complaints, because last season wasn’t good enough.
“But, looking forward to this season, I’m back now and it feels all new at the club now. I have loved it so far under Alan and, as far as I’m concerned I will be here all season unless something drastic changes.
“I have seen things in the last two weeks that excite me and put me in a much more positive and optimistic frame of mind than what the last six months have been. It’s only been two weeks together and it is still the same group of boys. It’s not as if seven or eight new faces have come in and lifted the place – the manager has done that. He has arrived and straight away, with the way he has spoken and what he wants us to do on the training pitch, it’s been first class.
“Has there been a difference? Absolutely. I don’t want to talk about last season, that’s done now. But what I will say is the way the manager has gone about his business has been excellent and the response from the players has been great. It is a really good atmosphere. We are under no illusions about what is expected this year and it is going to be tough, it is a competitive league and we need a big improvement, but I’m excited about what’s to come.”
Craig scored Hibs’ third goal in the routine victory over their Lowland League opposition on Saturday, with Jason Cummings (2) and Alex Harris also on the mark.
• Read David Hardie’s match report from Innerleithen plus an exclusive interview with new first-team coach John Doolan on why he left Wigan for Hibs, only in today’s Evening News.