David Gray's post-Dundee comments in full as interim Hibs boss questions individuals and makes responsibility claim
Hibs interim boss David Gray cut a frustrated figure as he reflected on the Easter Road side’s 3-1 defeat by Dundee at Dens Park on Tuesday night – here’s what he had to say post-match.
The Dark Blues took the lead after three minutes courtesy of Niall McGinn before James Scott hit back for the visitors. Josh Mulligan had a first-half goal ruled out for offside before restoring Mark McGhee’s side’s lead with just over 20 minutes remaining and substitute Charlie Adam made the points safe with a trademark late stunner.
Speaking afterwards, Gray said: "It was extremely disappointing. I thought the start of the game was as expected, Dundee coming out of the traps quickly, and then we lost the goal because we didn't start properly.
"We were in the wrong areas, our reaction in the second phase was poor, and we didn't defend the goal well enough.
"Once we went a goal down I thought our reaction was good; we got ourselves back into the game with a good goal and then dominated the first half.
"We were feeling pretty comfortable at that point, we'd created a few chances, and at half-time we talked about the fact that Dundee would come at us again, throw absolutely everything at it because of the situation they find themselves in.
"When that period happened, unfortunately we were found wanting and didn't have an answer for it."
‘It comes down to doing your job’
The caretaker-manager suggested some players hadn’t been doing their jobs, and insisted the team needed to be better at taking responsibility.
"It comes down to individuals at times. It comes down to doing your job, whether that’s stopping crosses, defending the box, or just being better than your opponent and not allowing them to get the better of you,” Gray continued.
“Charlie’s goal was a very good strike but so avoidable from our point of view.
"We lacked quality at times, our decision-making was poor. Taking responsibility is something we need to get better at."
‘Players have been trying all season’
Gray refused to use the managerial uncertainty and mounting injury list as factors in the meek result and second-half performance.
“It would be easy to use the managerial situation as an excuse, or to say that the season is finishing now or whatever. That’s never the case.
“It’s professional football, you get paid to play and to perform to the best of your ability every time you pull on the jersey. You’re in a privileged position.
"From an attitude point of view it should always be spot-on.
"I don’t think it’s a case of not trying. I think the players have been trying all season.
“We’re a little thin at the moment and limited in what we can do but that’s not an excuse, the situation hasn’t changed in the last three or four games and isn’t going to change before Sunday.
"We’ve got what we’ve got, we don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves. The players need to dust themselves down and myself and Eddie [May] need to get them as ready as we possibly can for another tough game at the weekend."
Story of the season?
Asked if the performance summed up Hibs’ season, Gray countered: "I don't think football is ever easy. There were times we were dominating the ball in the first half and creating chances, but I think it's been really evident recently that we haven't been clinical enough.
"When you are so dominant and creating chances, you need to take those chances because the situation that Dundee find themselves in, fighting for their lives, they were always going to throw the kitchen sink at us.
"At that stage in the game you need to be man enough to take responsibility. It doesn't always come down to tactics or set-plays, it comes down to individual performance, to be better than your opponent and defend your box.
"That was the bit that was lacking in the second half."
Leaders needed in final game
Gray’s final match in charge – at least of this interim stint – comes against St Johnstone at Easter Road on Sunday, and the 34-year-old has demanded a big display from the players.
"We're going to need leaders at the weekend because it's important that we finish the season as well as we can and see a reaction from the Dundee game because I'm sure and fully expect the supporters not to be happy with what they're seeing at the moment.
"No one is shying away from that. Where we find ourselves in the league is not good enough for this football club, the result against Dundee was not good enough for this football club.
"It's only us who can change it, it's up to us to make amends as quickly as possible."
Managerial clarity ‘was there from the start’
Speaking about the ongoing managerial situation, the former Easter Road captain insisted that it wasn’t an excuse for the performance.
"The players got clarity straight away. We've had two different managers this season already,” he pointed out.
"The manager always carries the responsibility so when things don't go well it's usually them that lose their jobs.
"As a staff, as players, everyone needs to look at themselves and ask themselves, can they do more, are they doing enough, how can they be better.
"Clarity was there as soon as the board made the decision to make a change. They made it very clear that it was myself and Eddie until the end of the season, it was never going to change.
"You're always being judged as football players regardless of who the manager is, regardless of what's at stake in terms of where you find yourself in the league and what you've got to play for.
"It's times like this and moments like these in the season when you really find out about people."