Hibs stand-in boss addresses 'on holiday' accusation in wake of Monty sacking

Gray and Darren McGregor (right) worked with players at training today.Gray and Darren McGregor (right) worked with players at training today.
Gray and Darren McGregor (right) worked with players at training today.
Gray hoping to avoid a FIFTH stint as interim at crisis club

Hibs legend David Gray believes the current crop of under-performing players were still giving 100 per cent for sacked boss Nick Montgomery right to the very end, with the Scottish Cup hero dismissing suggestions that anyone in green-and-white had downed tools in the weekend thrashing by Aberdeen. And Gray said he’s now hoping for a period of stability – so he doesn’t have to serve as interim boss for a FIFTH time.

Montgomery, who was removed from post yesterday morning, said in the wake of Sunday’s 4-0 home loss to the Dons that he couldn’t comment on commitment levels, telling Sky Sports: “If you want me to answer if the boys are on holiday already, I can’t answer that. That’s a personal thing.”

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But former captain Gray, who will take charge for the final two games of the season, starting with tomorrow night’s visit of Motherwell, declared: “I think it’s a very easy one to throw at the players after a result like Sunday. And because of the result, the players probably aren’t in a position to question it.

“We know that’s unacceptable. The result and performance on Sunday wasn’t good enough.

“Every single time you pull on a Hibs jersey and represent the club, you have a duty to be the best you can be as a professional footballer. What an opportunity you’ve got to play for a fantastic club, and it’s such a short career that you’re constantly being judged all the time.

“We’ve all got our own motivations, whatever it may be – family or friends. Some boys are supporters of the football club. They’ve got a duty to a level of professionalism that has to be there every single week, you can’t turn it on and off.

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“To answer your question, do I think they’re on holiday? No. They know they have an opportunity on Wednesday to fix Sunday’s result. It’s not going to fix the season, absolutely not, but we need a reaction.”

Addressing the fact that he’s now stepping into the void left by a managerial sacking for the fourth time in less than two-and-a-half years, Gray agreed that it’s a pattern that cannot continue to be repeated, if Hibs are to achieve any sort of sustained success, admitting: “I think that's what everybody wants. Nobody wants change all the time. The ideal scenario is that we are successful as a football club.

“Every decision that gets made is for the benefit of the football club. It's what they believe is the right thing to be successful. Everything needs to be aimed at being successful and at this moment in time, we've underachieved, and nobody is shying away from that - the staff, the players, everybody needs to take responsibility that as a football club this season, we've underachieved. The league table doesn't lie - we are where we are. It's not good enough for Hibs, we know we need to be better.

"If anyone has ambitions of being a manager, it is a very difficult job at any level, but to have the opportunity to manage at a club like Hibs, one of the top clubs in Scotland - the facilities, the fanbase, how passionate it is.

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“I've obviously been very fortunate to play for the club and experience ultimate highs and that's why I feel it is such an attractive job for any manager because of the size and level that it operates at. I think it's a good opportunity for anybody.

“One thing you have as a football player is responsibility. There are two games to go and every time you pull on the jersey you need to be the best version of yourself.

“The club, the fans deserve it, they come and pay their money every single week, home and away, they follow this club everywhere. And they deserve a product on the pitch everyone is going to fight for. It’s an easy team talk for me on that front. It’s an opportunity to put Sunday right straight away.”

Gray was an integral part of Montgomery’s backroom staff, yet is the only man left standing after this morning’s clear-out. He genuinely appreciated working with the former Central Coast boss – and believed he was on the right track in many ways.

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“You can clearly see the squad is very talented,” he said. “The manager is right to say it can be better, because the results show it can be better, but we need to do everything we possibly can to turn it around.

“It’s a collective. The manager always carries the can because he’s at the front of it, but we all need to be better – every single player, every single staff member, all working towards Hibs being successful.”

Looking to sign off with a win in the final home game of the season, not least so that departing heroes Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson can enjoy the farewell ceremony planned for after the match, Gray said: “I think it’s important their achievements are recognised. If you asked the two of them, would they rather play or sit on the bench and the team gets three points, they’d take the points. That’s the type of characters they are.”

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