A furious Terry Butcher today cancelled his Hibs players’ day off and ordered them to be at their East Mains training centre to watch their X-rated display against St Mirren all over again.
Butcher’s squad had been due to enjoy Easter Monday with their families, but had that taken away from them after a woeful display in Paisley in which they crashed to a fifth successive defeat, one which leaves just three points separating them from Ross County in the play-off spot.
The Hibs boss was left shaking his head in disbelief as Kenny McLean fired the Buddies ahead after only 13 seconds. Paul McGowan added a second in the 14th minute and although Saints were forced to play with ten men for more than an hour after skipper Jim Goodwin was sent off for a late lunge on Kevin Thomson, they failed to score for the fourth match in a row.
Hibs now go into Sunday’s final derby of the season with Butcher warning a repeat of that miserable performance will see them beaten again by Hearts, a result which if it were to come about would plunge Butcher’s side into even deeper trouble.
And to compound Hibs’ worries was the news that Jordon Forster will miss the visit of Partick Thistle a week on Saturday, the young centre-half picking up his sixth booking of the season for a last-minute foul on Saints’ Josh Magnenis which earned him an automatic one-match ban which will force Butcher, already without Paul Hanlon for the rest of the season, into yet another defensive reshuffle. Today, though, Butcher was intent on showing his squad a re-run of the entire Saints match as he turned his thoughts towards Sunday’s derby, the big Englishman admitting he’s been left as low as he’s ever been in his managerial career by a woeful record of just one win in 14 Scottish Premiership matches.
And he revealed he’s been left baffled as to why he’s continually being let down, saying: “It’s all about the game. I watch them training. They do well and work hard. But they are the ones that have to cross that white line and produce it. If they do not produce it then we lose matches, but it’s the way we lose games as well that really hurts. It’s exapserating, frustrating and everything else.
“We had a magnificent support against St Mirren, the Hibs fans will back us but we let them down big time again. I just want to give them something they can hang on to but I have said that time and time again. We have to dig out some fight and motivation, some attitude for Sunday because, if we play like that, then Hearts will beat us – no doubt about that.”