Hibs: Joe Newell hopes Falkirk loss was blip as midfielder says Hibees 'paid the price' for lacklustre first half
Joe Newell insists Hibs’ 1-0 defeat by Falkirk in the Premier Sports Cup on Tuesday night wasn’t down to new management as the midfielder admitted the Easter Road side had ‘paid the price’ for a poor first-half display.
Aidan Nesbitt’s header six minutes before the interval was enough for the Bairns although there was some dogged defending as an improved Hibs side battered the hosts’ goal in search of an equaliser.
Speaking afterwards, Newell conceded that the players ‘just weren’t good enough’ in the opening 45 minutes.
"In the second half the quality, attitude, enthusiasm was miles better but it just wasn't our day,” he added.
"There will be a few blips throughout the course of the season but we would have hoped there wouldn't be one this early on.
"With a new manager we’re still adapting but I wouldn’t say that was the reason we played like we did in the first half.
"We should be coming here and winning – no disrespect to Falkirk. Our starting line-up was more than good enough to win the game, we just weren't at the races.
"It just wasn't good enough from all 11 players."
Easter Road boss Lee Johnson made four changes at the break, an act normally reserved for pre-season friendlies, but Newell admitted that regardless of substitutions or tactical tweaks, the players knew their first-half display collectively and individually hadn’t been up to scratch.
“The gaffer shouldn't have to change it – he could have kept the same players on or made 11 changes, but the second half was always going to be an improvement,” Newell said.
"He spoke to us at half-time, changed it, and I thought we came out and played well in the second half.
"We created loads of chances; hit the bar, hit the post, lots of crosses, missed chances, penalty claims, and a lot of pressure around the box. We just couldn't get it over the line."
Newell has enjoyed life under Johnson so far and despite the aberration in FK2, believes his style of play will be a success at Easter Road.
"It's a different style to the previous manager but we had a good week in Portugal where he got his message across and how he sees us playing.
"We've bought into it quite quickly; you can see the energy and enthusiasm he demands from his team, that front-foot pressing, the attacking style of play and I think it will work very well here."
While players naturally want to win every game, the 29-year-old wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the narrow defeat helping the team to reset – and, Newell hopes, reach the latter stages of the competition.
“If it is a kick up the backside we needed and we win the next two games and go through, then so be it.
"Everyone will forget about this as a little blip if we do. It's still early on with new players adjusting, fitness levels, and all the rest of it.
"Since I've been here, and the recent history of the club, without winning it we've done very well in terms of getting to the latter stages of both cups.
"That's the aim for us as a team and a club.”