Hibs' Graeme Mathie gives his views on new manager, culpability and player recruitment

New sporting director admits all at club 'have to reflect' on performance

Thursday, 7th November 2019, 1:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th November 2019, 1:32 pm
Hibs sporting director Graeme Mathie. Pic: SNS
Hibs sporting director Graeme Mathie. Pic: SNS

New Hibs sporting director Graeme Mathie says everyone at Hibs "has to reflect" on their performance after head coach Paul Heckingbottom and assistant Robbie Stockdale were sacked earlier this week.

Hibs dispensed of their management team on Monday in the wake of the 5-2 Betfred Cup semi-final defeat by Celtic. The club sit tenth in the Ladbrokes Premiership and have not won in the league since August.

Mathie was promoted to sporting director at Easter Road last month and will play a massive part in identifying the club's new manager.

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"Clearly, it’s been disappointing over the last couple of days and certainly not how I’d have envisaged my first couple of weeks going," said Mathie.

"First of all, I’d like to place on record my thanks to Paul and Robbie for their professionalism, for the way they engaged with all the staff and for their work at the football club over the last nine months.

"Every single person is responsible for performance. Two people have left their jobs this week but we all have to reflect. That’s part of the reason why I’m speaking now. Part of my role going forward is to lead and we need to front up when things aren’t going well. We need to be open about our reflections and we need to do what we can to make it positive."

Mathie will now focus on appointing the successor to Heckingbottom and he continued: "I’ve been involved in the previous recruitment processes. Each one has been different. Each one has included new aspects in terms of learnings from previous processes.

"At the moment I’m leading a number of people at the training centre to help not only consider the names that we already had on lists – which is part of the ongoing process – but to process the new names to go forward to Ron and Leeann with a shortlist of names that I think we should be giving serious consideration to. Beyond that, a strong piece of work to support those we feel should be interviewed."

Mathie also explained in his interview with club's website the strategy around player recruitment and his thoughts on January signings.

"We did a big piece of recruitment work in the summer to look at the age profile of the squad and get a better balance," he explained. "We wanted to give the club more control over contract lengths. When you bring in a number of players on loan or short-term contracts then you’re always transitioning.

"There is another big piece of work being done just now on recruitment. Not just in the summer but over the past five years – those that have been successful and those that haven’t worked out the way we would have hopes – so we can learn. We’re also comparing ourselves to rivals in the marketplace to make sure we’re looking in the right places for players to have a squad capable of competing at the level we want to compete at.

"We’ve all got the responsibility to improve performance – players, coaches, backroom staff. January gives us an opportunity to add one or two new players. Part of the reflection has shown up key moments in games when it hasn’t gone for us. I keep talking about fine lines in football and being judged on a weekly basis.

"Results dictate what happens over a period of time but there’s certainly been a number of games when the results could and should have been different. I don’t think we can lose sight of that. I don’t think wholesale changers are required but January certainly presents us with an opportunity to improve aspects of the squad to help turn these results in our favour.

"Paul and Robbie, as people, had a lot of good personal qualities that we wanted as people. They weren’t people who made excuses or came in wallowing in disappointment on a daily basis. They worked very, very hard to change little bits of information or the way they spoke to players to try and impact on results. That’s something we can all do.

"It has been a disappointing period of time for a lot of people, for different reasons. The training centre needs to be a positive environment because the first thing we need to do is win a game of football on Saturday. Everyone in the building needs to be focused on what they can do to impact the outcome of that game and get us closer to where we want to be."