Sorting out dismal home record is Hibs’ priority

Hibs assistant manager Maurice Malpas at East Mains
Hibs assistant manager Maurice Malpas at East Mains
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Maurice Malpas today insisted he and Terry Butcher will sort out Hibs’ appalling home record, just as they did Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s.

The Easter Road assistant boss admitted he was stunned to discover the Capital club had won only two league games on their own turf in this entire calendar year but he’s determined to grasp a chance to even slightly improve that 
statistic when St Johnstone arrive in town tomorrow.

Malpas, who will take charge of the home dugout as boss Butcher serves a touchline ban, revealed he was unaware that only Dundee and St Mirren had suffered defeats in the east end of Edinburgh – the Dark Blues on the final day of last season while the Buddies are the only side Hibs have beaten at home in this campaign. But having snatched a point against Partick Thistle with a last-gasp goal from James Collins in their only home game to date, Malpas believes the new management team can reproduce the turnaround in form they engineered at Caley – the Highland club having lost just once at their own ground this season.

Malpas said: “We went through a spell at Inverness when we couldn’t win at home. Historically any team that does well does well at home nine times out of ten and that’s something we have to try to get to.

“I was surprised to discover Hibs had only won twice at Easter Road this calendar year because last season weren’t they the last side to lose their unbeaten home record? But that’s in the past, we have to try to get our own run going. We drew against Partick and now we are looking to get three points against St Johnstone. We’ll be looking to score goals, to play in the manner we are asking them in terms of getting the ball forward quicker without shelling it.”

However, Malpas insisted Hibs’ more direct approach shouldn’t lead to them being tagged a “back-to-front” side, saying: “We have never ever asked our teams to play back-to-front. We want to get the ball forward quicker, we want to get the team forward quicker, get into the last third and see what happens.

“At Dundee United Jim McLean used to hammer in to us about getting the ball into the box. There’s nothing more frustrating for a striker than not getting the ball in there. Fans want to see goalmouth incidents, they want to see attempts at goal, they want to see goals, but until you get the ball into the box you are not going to get too much of that are you?

“That’s our philosophy. Hopefully the fans go along with that and enjoy it. To win games you have to score goals and to score goals you have to get the ball into the box so we will keep hammering that into the players.”