Jake Doyle-Hayes backs Kevin Nisbet as he insists Hibs can take positives from Celtic defeat

Jake Doyle-Hayes believes there were positives for Hibs despite defeat by Celtic on Monday night as the Irishman insisted that the Easter Road side can only improve under new manager Shaun Maloney.

By Patrick McPartlin
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 10:30 pm

First-half goals by Hoops debutant Daizen Maeda, and Josip Juranovic from the penalty spot gave the hosts a comfortable 2-0 lead although Kevin Nisbet hit the post in the early stages when it was still 0-0.

Chances thereafter were at a premium for Hibs and although Celtic failed to increase their lead in the second half they never looked uncomfortable.

Speaking afterwards Doyle-Hayes admitted: “It was a tough one to take. I thought we dominated the ball for long spells, which is what the manager is wanting from us.

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Jake Doyle-Hayes vies for the ball with Celtic's Tom Rogic

“Obviously, we need to create more chances. But if we score that goal that hits the post, it might have been a different game.

“That happens and they went up the park and scored. You don’t get many chances at these places [Celtic Park] and we have to take them, but it happens.”

Doyle-Hayes appeared to throw his support behind team-mate Nisbet, adding: “Players miss chances. Everyone does it. You can’t just have one chance and hit the post. You need to create more. It is tough to do against teams such as Celtic, but we’ll keep improving. We are also learning; the manager, and staff, and everyone is enjoying it. We’ll keep improving and we will push on.”

The former St Mirren man felt Hibs gave a good account of themselves at a tough venue, and tried to elaborate on Maloney’s instructions on the training ground.

"He wants us to take the ball under pressure, to trust ourselves and trust other players. Everyone did that against Celtic and that’s a tough place to do it.

"If you can do it there, you can do it anywhere. We do it on the training pitch every day and you can see we have the players in the squad.

“As I said, we’ll just keep pushing on in training. We need to create more chances in the coming weeks and I think we will do that.

“We trust everyone in the squad in the changing room and trust ourselves to match teams like Celtic.

“Even the boys coming off the bench, everyone is putting in a shift. When they had the ball, we worked really hard.

“I like getting on the ball as much as I can and I think the manager has trust in us being calm and patient. It is good and I am enjoying it.”

Hibs now have a Scottish Cup fourth-round tie against Cove Rangers on Thursday as they look to emulate last season’s run to the final and, says Doyle-Hayes, hopefully go one better after losing the 2021 final to St Johnstone.

“When you get beaten, it is good to get back out as quickly as you can to put it right. It’s a tough game and we can’t loosen up. We know to go out there and be focused to push on and get to another Cup Final,” the 23-year-old added.

“Everyone in the changing room wants silverware. That’s our goal, and we need to go out and put on a good performance as it will be a tough match.”

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