HIBS midfielder Scott Robertson believes he can take his personal resurgence to a new level under Terry Butcher’s guidance.
After a demoralising spell at Blackpool last season, Robertson wasn’t in a good place when he first arrived at Easter Road back in January. The former Dundee United midfielder, who was still rebuilding his shattered confidence, toiled to set the heather alight as Hibs plummeted down the SPL table in the closing months of last season, and he knew himself he had to deliver a lot more this term. So far, in a mixed campaign for Hibs, in which they have had decent runs of form as well as some disastrous results, Robertson has been arguably the most consistent player in a green-and-white jersey.
While some of his team-mates have looked to be short of confidence, Robertson has been able to maintain a pretty good level of form. Now he is hoping the whole team can step up to the mark under Butcher in order to give him a better chance of imposing himself on games the way he did at Dundee United, when his form was recognised by a call-up to a Scotland set-up in which, incidentally, Butcher was assistant manager to George Burley.
“I’ve been very impressed with the new management,” said Robertson. “They said we’re a good squad of players and maybe just not playing the right way to get the best out of us and better results. Terry’s trying to get the mindset right about playing the right way, playing in the right areas and really trying to hurt teams rather than playing in front of them.
“He’s trying to work on players in correct positions mainly and any shape we’ve been working on has been based on players in the right positions and it seems to be a better standard because of that.
“The new manager is impressed with the squad and the ability in it, but he feels he can get more out of us results-wise on a Saturday. In his opinion, for all the pretty play we had, it was all in front of teams and not hurting teams. “Every new manager has new ideas and will want to bring in his own players and maybe a few lads will arrive soon. That happens when there’s a turnover in a management team. But he’s come into a squad with talent all over the pitch and it’s up to him and ourselves to get the best out of what’s here.
“I can only speak for myself when I say that I don’t think I was lacking in confidence. People can help give you confidence but it comes from yourself and you need to be strong mentally. I said in the summer I had a bad season last season, so I made sure this season was all down to me. I was trying to get myself fit and play the best I could.
“Confidence might be a factor with some boys, but not for myself.”
One of Robertson’s main objectives as he seeks further improvement is to add more goals to his repertoire.
The former Dundee and Dundee United player enjoys all aspects of playing central midfield, but has been frustrated by scoring only two goals in his time at Easter Road. He is hoping Butcher’s emphasis on shooting on sight can help him get closer to Liam Craig, Hibs’ top scorer this season, in the goal charts.
“I’ve already seen signs in training this week that Terry wants a similar style from us [to what he had at Inverness],” said Robertson.
“He was very positive in his instructions about getting shots away when you get the chance. He told us there’s no point in trying to play that threaded pass if it gets cut out – you might as well have a shot if you’re in a decent position.
“We have passed the ball about nice but it’s not been effective in terms of scoring goals – we’re the lowest scoring team in the league. There’s definitely something wrong there because we pass it well at times, but the new manager said it hasn’t been to great effect.
“Inverness score goals from all over the pitch – centre-backs, full-backs, midfielders and strikers. We’re hoping to add that. I think I must have had the most shots on goals this season with the least goal return!
“I think a bit of bad finishing and good goalkeeping have resulted in me scoring just one goal so far. I feel I deserve more and hopefully I’ll get more because I’ve got a bet on with Liam Craig that I’ll score more and he’s five ahead already.
“I had a bad season last season so I got into a positive frame of mind in the summer and I feel I’ve done myself more justice, but I feel there’s more to come and hopefully I can produce that under the new manager.
“I feel I’ve played best when I’m right of a traditional two in the centre of a four-man midfield, with a midfielder who wants to do the same as me – break forward and score a goal or be the one to sit when the other person goes. I certainly don’t see myself as a defensive midfielder.”