Hibs boss aiming for a tighter defensive unit

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Hibs boss Alan Stubbs today revealed he will be demanding even more from his defence even though they conceded less than one goal a game in the season just past.

The Easter Road outfit lost just 32 goals in their 36 Championship matches, a record bettered only by title winners Hearts – but Stubbs believes there is still room for improvement.

David Gray and Mark Oxley will play a key role in keeping the goals out

David Gray and Mark Oxley will play a key role in keeping the goals out

And, with goalkeeper Mark Oxley enjoying the same back four in front of him again, new club captain David Gray, Liam Fontaine and Lewis Stevenson like him having clinched new contracts, Stubbs is backing them to do exactly that.

Pointing to how results improved significantly after a slow start to the season as his new-look team found it’s feet following relegation, the head coach said: “I think the thing with Mark is that he is, in goalkeeping terms, very young and he’s only going to get better.

“The fact he has a season under his belt with that back four bodes well for us moving forward. There’s nothing better as a back four knowing exactly what your goalkeeper is donig and as a keeper you know what your back four are doing – that can be priceless.

“We lost the second fewest number of goals last season and that’s something I’d like to improve on. We did okay once the season progressed and, over the season, very rarely did we lose a game by more than one goal which is a positive.

“But it will be something that I am going to emphasise to the players that we need to be even better this season.”

• Mike Riley, the long-serving chairman of the Hibs Supporters’ Association, has resigned along with his vice-chairman Craig Paterson.

Crawford Corrigan has taken over as interim chairman until the Association’s agm in April with Tom Hall acting as vice-chairman during that period.

Corrigan said: “One of my first tasks will be to contact Leeann Dempster and, working with my colleagues on the HSA Council, I will continue to look for ways that we can help Leeann and her team achieve the very best for Hibs.”