Hibs boss hails strong character who inspired crucial away win
Nick Montgomery hailed goal scorer Jair Tavares for showing strength of character to become one of the most consistent Hibs performers. But the Hibees gaffer also had words of warning for Lewis Miller, who scored AND got himself sent off as the visitors held on for a 2-1 win over Dundee at Dens Park.
Tavares recently opened up about the mental strain he’d experienced during a year on the sidelines under Lee Johnson. And the Portuguese winger, restored to the first team as soon as Montgomery took over in September, bagged his second goal for the club to open the scoring yesterday,
Monty said: “He’s been outstanding. Everyone knows his story. He’s been in the media with what he went through. He’s had a really tough time, most sportsmen do - and it showed his character.
“He deserved his goal; he’s been one of our most consistent players. It’s not easy when you’ve been out so long. He still has some way to improve. He could have had some assists and gets excited in front of goal - but he will continue to get stronger and fitter.”
Miller was booked late in the first half for jumping into a challenge just moments after being spoken to by referee Don Robertson. Although he also scored to make it 2-0 early in the second half, a second bookable offence just five minutes after finding the net saw the Socceroos fullback dismissed.
“The first booking was silly,” said Montgomery. “He didn’t need to get involved in the altercation and that’s what I’ve told him. You pick up a silly booking and you’re walking a tightrope.
“His second was maybe harsh but I’ve not seen it. In that moment you regret the first one because it affects you and the team. But he scored a winning goal with the header, so I’ll let him off.
“It was a good three points. We had the 2-0 lead then went down to ten away from home with the crowd on top of them. We invited pressure on by dropping deep and on the counterattack, we could have killed things off. They took risks but we stood strong and saw the game out.
“We’ve been 2-0 up in a few games and conceded late and dropped points but we deserved more in some of those games. You don’t always get what you deserve.
“I was really proud of the boys. They work really hard and internally we had to fix it. Whether it was a mental thing or affecting us by us not playing our football and heads dropping, we’ve addressed it and it’s great to see us putting bodies on the line.
“We’ve got a long way to go. We’re a good side when we work hard and continue to put in displays like that at home and away. And the fans were great today. There were 1,500 who travelled so massive thanks to them."