Hibs players 'not doing enough for Jack Ross' as Paul Hanlon targets any kind of win against Ross County

Like his friend and fellow long-serving defensive colleague Lewis Stevenson, Paul Hanlon has been wearing the green and white of Hibs for long enough to have experienced the giddiest highs and the utmost lows.

By Patrick McPartlin
Friday, 29th October 2021, 6:00 am
Paul Hanlon believes the Hibs players have to work harder for Jack Ross
Paul Hanlon believes the Hibs players have to work harder for Jack Ross

The Easter Road captain has been there for the Scottish Cup success, scored in Edinburgh derbies, and felt the pain of relegation. But while Stevenson suggested after the 1-0 loss to Aberdeen at Pittodrie that things could, and have been, much worse for the Capital club, Hanlon was more focused on bringing an end to the wretched run of form.

Refusing to attribute the dip in performances to the fact Hibs have played the likes of the Dons, Rangers, and Celtic during their losing streak, the 31-year-old said: “It is the manner of the performances. No matter who we are playing, if we are performing like that we are not going to win games.

"It is a tight league this year and every game is competitive so we have to look at ourselves and our performances and it is up to us to give the gaffer a bit back because we are not doing enough for him at the minute.”

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Anthony Ralston scores the opener for Celtic

Asked if this year’s Scottish Premiership was the strongest since Hibs returned to the top flight, Hanlon agreed: “I would say that most of the real top teams in Scotland are all fighting it out. There are a lot of derby games and a lot of teams are looking strong so every game is really competitive this season and it is about us getting better over the next few games and picking up points.”

Both Hanlon and his manager stated that the first-half showing against Celtic had fallen well short of the club’s usual standard for performances.

"If we had played the way we did in the first half in the second as well then it might have been a case of, ‘where do we go from here?’"

"I think there were positives to take from the second half and it is now up to us as players to get out there on Saturday and put everything right.

“We are not performing well enough at the minute for the fans, for the club, or for the manager. It is on us as players to go out and put on a performance.”

Speaking of performances, Hibs have now conceded eight goals in four games, putting even more pressure on the rearguard.

“We are conceding soft goals and not putting performances together at the minute and we are being punished,” Hanlon admitted.

"When you play a team like Celtic and perform like that then you are going to get punished and that’s what happened to us on Wednesday.

“It was a really disappointing first half, we didn’t get to grips with the game at all and conceded poor goals. They made it really, really difficult for us.

"The second half we improved quite a bit and restored some pride but, all in all, it was a disappointing night.

“In the second half I think we had to show that fighting spirit and show we weren’t going to cave in, or crumble and let it get any worse. I thought we did that, to an extent.

"We created a few chances and we were much improved in the second half but the first half was where the damage was done.”

Hibs will hope to turn things around as soon as possible but Saturday brings an away match at Ross County – who recorded a stunning 5-0 win against Dundee at Dens Park on Wednesday night.

"We have just got to look at ourselves. They will be full of confidence after their win but we went up there last year and got a big win that really helped push us towards that third place and we will be looking to use a win up there to get our season going again,” he continued.

“When you lose a few games in a row you just want to win. Any kind of win. We will try to do it in a good way, with a bit of style, but realistically all that matters is that we go up there and win.

"It is a huge game and we are all looking forward to it. We are desperate to get back out there and the second-half performance has given us that feeling of, ‘let’s go out on Saturday and do this again’.”

If Hibs are to come away from Dingwall with three points then they will need to be more dangerous in the final third, having registered just two goals in four games.

“We do have a lot of attacking players – maybe not so much out and out centre-forwards – but we do have a lot of attacking players in the team.

"It is just about us all putting everything together. We are on this disappointing run and on top of the results we aren’t playing well, we are getting beaten and it is up to us to put that right.”

Hanlon is hopeful that Hibs can build on their second-half performance against the Staggies, revealing that there were some choice words – again – in the dressing room on Wednesday night.

“We were all questioning each other and I would be worried if we weren’t. There were a lot of heated players, and players who are determined to put things right,” he said.

"After the game there was that kind of belief that, if we perform like we mostly did in the second half against Celtic, then the results will change.

"It is up to us players to put that right. We are under a bit of pressure just now and it is up to us to do that.”

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