Hibs ace insists criticism of 'great' summer signings is 'a lot of rubbish'

Ryan Porteous has launched an impassioned defence of Hibs’ under-fire summer signings after Christian Doidge’s hat-trick helped them to a first league win in more than three months on Saturday.

Monday, 11th November 2019, 10:18 am
Updated Monday, 11th November 2019, 10:26 am

Some of the club’s most recent recruits have taken time to find their feet at Easter Road, leading many to conclude that Paul Heckingbottom, who was sacked as manager a week ago, had signed too many players who weren’t equipped to play at Scottish Premiership level.

Chief executive Leeann Dempster dismissed this suggestion on Friday when she insisted that nothing had gone wrong with the recruitment and that some players had received “unnecessary criticism”.

Defender Porteous, pictured inste, backed up these claims as he rejected the notion that the new players weren’t of the required standard.

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The 20-year-old centre-back was delighted to see summer signings like Doidge, Joe Newell, Melker Hallberg and Jason Naismith play their part in the 4-1 win at St Johnstone on Saturday - Hibs’ biggest away victory in the Premiership for seven years.

“Doidgy bangs them in during training - he’s so hard to mark,” said Porteous. “The summer signings like Doidgy have had a lot of stick but they are the best players in training at times. You can’t get the ball off Joe Newell, Josh Vela works his socks off, Chris Doidge puts the ball in the back of the net. So it’s a lot of rubbish. They are great players. We’ve stuck by them and they will stick by us.

“We’ve seen it down south, Doidgy is prolific and every single time he’s played, he’s worked his socks off and held the ball up well. Maybe because we’ve been playing one up front he’s not had someone else to help him out. But he had that against St Johnstone - Flo (Kamberi) did well for him - and he’s got his three goals and it was thoroughly deserved.”

Players like Doidge, Newell and Vela have been subjected to severe criticism from supporters and media this season, and Porteous admits the team’s longer-serving players have had to support them through their early months in Edinburgh.

“The new guys were a bit down that they were getting stick but I explained to them if you don’t hit the ground running here you might get some stick,” said Porteous. “But as soon as you get the wins and performances the fans will back you all the way.

“They’ve asked myself, Paul Hanlon and Darren McGregor – the lifelong Hibs fans – what the fans’ normal reaction is to a situation like this, and this is normal at any team if you’re not winning.

“With the high standards at Hibs, you need to be performing.

“When you’ve got five or six players coming in to new surroundings, to a big city club with big expectations, it’s always going to take a while to settle in. Hopefully they kick on from there.”