Hibs boss confronts 'failure' as another late collapse condemns team to place among also-rans

Devastation as Hibs concede late - again. Devastation as Hibs concede late - again.
Devastation as Hibs concede late - again.
Bottom six abyss awaits flops unable to bury mediocre Motherwell

Dejected Hibs boss Nick Montgomery branded Hibernian’s season a failure after his team fell short in the battle for a top-six finish. And he cursed the recurring theme of losing horrible late goals as the dominant visitors succumbed to an ugly injury-time equaliser at Fir Park.

Failure to beat Motherwell, along with Dundee getting a point against Aberdeen at Pittodrie, saw Hibs condemned to a seventh-placed finish as the Scottish Premiership splits. They’ll play their remaining five fixtures against relegation dodgers and fellow also rans.

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Montgomery bemoaned his side’s inability to see out a game they’d dominated either side of Myziane Maolida’s second-half penalty, saying: “As you can imagine, the boys are devastated, dejected. It’s 20 seconds to go, the fans are elated, we’re elated. Twenty seconds later, it’s devastation.

“I think it’s a game we should have won comfortably. We had enough chances to completely kill the game off. But if you don’t take them, if you make the wrong decisions in key moments, you can rue those missed chances.

“That was certainly the case today. We didn’t concede a shot on goal for 94 minutes.

“That has happened a little too often. You can say it’s unlucky. You can say it’s an injustice. But what we have to do is take responsibility, clear the header, clear the second ball.

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“It’s a wonder strike by the boy. But it’s their only shot in the game. It’s cost us two points and it’s cost us a spot in the top six.

“I’m disappointed and devastated for the players, for the fans. Because we grabbed the opportunity for 93-and-a-half minutes. Then we let ourselves down with one shot on target.”

On the failure to reach the top half, Monty admitted: "It's not good enough for Hibs. You have to earn the right to get anywhere in football. You have to earn the right to get into the top six.

As a club we have failed to hit one of our targets and that was the top six. The other two were progress in the cups, which we did to a good level. But the big target was to try and get into the top six. I've tried everything I can to get there. We've had stuff that's probably been challenging for us, but as a club, yeah, we have to look back at the start of the season, before pre-season, and how we've ended up in this position where we're going into the last game 20 seconds away from the top six.”

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Hibs fell short in front of an away support of almost 3000 travelling fans. Many of whom gave vent to their anger and frustration at full-time.

Montgomery said: “I understand the fans, for sure. It’s been a frustrating season. The start of the season was really difficult, I came in, we’ve had some good periods, some tough periods.

“We’ve had a lot of challenges this season – and the fans don’t deserve some of the stuff that’s happened to them this season. I thought they were great today, they got behind us. And with 20 seconds to go, if we hold out, there would have been fantastic scenes at the end.

“So of course, a game you should win, you drop points, and it costs us a point in the top six, I can totally understand their frustration.”

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On his team’s repeated in ability to see games out, with set piece goals a recurring flaw, the manager said: “You can work on it as much as you want. And we were very good for long periods at defending set pieces this season.

“Obviously we had key players missing for a period, we brought new players in during January. But it’s hard to explain.

“The conditions, yeah, the ball is swirling. You’ve just got to get a head on it – and clear the second ball. We didn’t. That’s why we are kicking ourselves.

“The boys are devastated. We have to move on from it because we can’t change it.”