Hibs face huge summer on and off the park - club has to dispel apathy among disenchanted fans

There’s a fairly infamous clip of Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman speaking after an FA Cup defeat in which he says: “I’m rapidly falling out of love with football – I just wonder what’s the point anymore.”

Monday, 18th April 2022, 7:30 am

It feels like this is where many Hibs fans are at, following the Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Hearts. Not because of the game or performance itself but because of the general feeling of apathy gripping the club.

So what now for Hibs, as the 2021/22 campaign hirples to an underwhelming finish via five run-of-the-mill Scottish Premiership games?

The semi and the season as a whole

Hibs fell short at Hampden against Hearts - and now the summer is crucial for the club on and off the park

Hibs put in a better performance than they had managed in the league derby at Tynecastle and had Joe Newell not been sent off and Craig Gordon denied Ryan Porteous, it could have ended differently.

The Hampden clash felt like Hibs’ season in microcosm: some good work on and off the ball, not enough in the final third, indiscipline playing a key role, and Lewis Stevenson being Lewis Stevenson.

There are five league games left but even if Hibs pick up 15 points it will likely feel quite flat. No cup final to look forward to, no Europe on the horizon, and likely a summer of significant change to the playing staff.

The catalogue of injuries has no doubt taken a toll, along with the sale of Martin Boyle and a managerial change mid-season but most fans will be glad to see the back of this particular campaign.

Shaun Maloney will do further surgery on his squad come the summer

Maloney and the future

Fans seem split on whether Shaun Maloney should be emptied now, in the summer, or given time to shape his squad. Unless something drastic changes upstairs, the 39-year-old will be given the summer to overhaul his squad and prepare for a fresh assault on the league next term.

Constant change achieves little and having been identified by the club’s hierarchy as the man to take Hibs forward it will be interesting to see how the team differs with the Maloney stamp on it.

The Easter Road boss has said that he knows what Hibs need to be more competitive on the park. Harry Clarke and Ewan Henderson have both shown why Maloney was keen to bring them in and if he can achieve a complementary blend of youth, experience, talent, and the sort of fight shown against Hearts then the team should be in a better position going into next season.

Whisper it, but not having Europe to contend with in the summer could actually work in the club’s favour as they lay the groundwork for the 2022/23 campaign.

It will be a big summer off the pitch for Hibs as well. Work has been scheduled to overhaul the hospitality offerings in the Main Stand while there has been talk of a new pitch as well. HTC could also benefit from some upgrades and tweaks. But all of this matters little if the product on the park is not delivering.

In a perfect world the club will make progress off-field as well as on it. Given the events of the last seven days, never mind the last few months, it is vital that Hibs get it right in both areas come the summer.

Message from the editor

Thank you for reading this article. If you haven't already, please consider supporting our sports coverage with a digital sports subscription.