Hibs skipper's heartfelt reaction to Montgomery sacking

Veteran defender made manager’s life ‘difficult’ for all the right reasons

Hibs captain Paul Hanlon says he was left “devastated” by the departure of Nick Montgomery – despite the axed manager signing off on his own Easter Road exit. And the Scottish Cup hero insists he felt zero bitterness towards the sacked gaffer, despite struggling to for game time under Monty.

Hanlon, reacting to this morning’s news about Montgomery and his backroom staff, summed up his feelings by saying: “Obviously devastated. I feel like we've been here recently. Really disappointed for Nick and his staff. You have that feeling of guilt as a group of players in terms of results.”

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Montgomery’s opinion would obviously have been sought before Hibs decided not to offer new contracts to Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson, who will be afforded special farewell ceremonies following tomorrow night’s final home game of the season, against Motherwell. But Hanlon insisted he harboured no ill will to a boss who restricted his playing opportunities.

“Not at all,” said the central defender. “Listen, as I have got older, you kind of appreciate what a manager’s job is. When you are younger, you just think: ‘Play me gaffer, I’m the man.’

“But as you get older you have got to try and see the bigger picture and all I have tried to do all season is make sure I am 100 per cent ready if he needs me - and try to make his decisions as hard as possible.

“Having conversations over the last week, I think I did that. I probably didn’t have as much game-time as I wanted throughout the season, but that is part and parcel of football.

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“I’ve been lucky over a number of years to play as many games as I have had and consistently be in the team. t’s a little bit different, but I’ve just tried to work so hard to make his life as difficult as possible in terms of selecting the team.

“If you ask every manager, they'll probably not feel like they've had a fair shot - because they maybe don't feel like they've had enough time to implement what they wanted to do. It's just been an accumulation of poor results and performances from the playing side, and not doing enough.”

Asked if Monty’s departure could prompt a change of his own circumstances, Hanlon said: “As far as I'm aware, my contract is not being renewed and I wouldn't say the decision was all made by any one person. There are a lot of people involved in the decision-making. As far as I'm aware nothing has changed, and it's probably not the right time to be thinking or talking about it.”

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