Joe Newell speaks on time out of team and how Hibs will turn corner
Hibs may be without a league win since the opening day of the season, Paul Heckingbottom’s players having racked up a run of eight matches without the sweet taste of victory.
But, insisted midfielder Joe Newell, there is no cause for alarm bells to be ringing around Easter Road.
While the former Rotherham United player has been restricted to a string of cameo appearances in recent weeks, he claimed the view he has enjoyed from the bench has been one of a team showing steady signs of improvement, still winless, but improving game by game.
And that, he declared, had helped blunt the frustration he’s been feeling at his limited involvement, his last start before the weekend clash with Hamilton, coming in that narrow win over St Mirren which gave hope of better things to come.
Sadly, that’s proved to be far from the case, but with a Betfred Cup semi-final place secured and followed by three draws, Newell argued that, at least, the green shoots of recovery are beginning to show.
“Sitting on the bench at a time like this is doubly frustrating,” said the 26-year-old. “But at the same time I’ve been in a good position watching from there to know the performances over the last three or four weeks have been getting better and better.
“It’s obviously not going to change overnight, you can’t click your fingers and start winning. But gradually I think we have been getting better.
“It’s frustrating, but I think if we were playing poorly and not winning, then there would be alarm bells. But personally I think the lads have been playing well and we could quite easily be sitting here with two or three wins out of our last three or four games.
“You have to keep going. It’s happened in previous teams I’ve played with and there will be times when you will nick wins you don’t deserve. It’s swings and roundabouts. We do not feel we are getting what we deserve at the minute, but you just have to remain professional, keep training well, working on the right things and trust it will change.
“I think the lads and the gaffer would take playing badly and winning 1-0 rather than, as happened on Saturday, we played well and drew. I felt we played well and should have won it.
“Obviously we’re not happy with the chances we missed, another day we could have won comfortably. You just need to try to find a way to win, that’s the most important thing.
“We know a couple of wins could propel us on to a good run. It’s a competitive league, all the teams are competitive.”
Newell believes his insistence that he and his team-mates just need that rub of the green which they feel has gone against them, Hamilton cancelling out Stevie Mallan’s opening goal with what head coach Heckingbottom claimed was a soft penalty before striker Christian Doidge, still searching for his first league goal, had a late strike chalked off for handball.
“That’s been the story of his season so far,” claimed Newell. “Christian has scored dozens over the years so I am confident when he gets one or two he could easily go on a run and score loads.
“But there is more to him than scoring goals. He does a lot of work people don’t notice. He’s good to play off, he works his socks off and his link-up play is good. I thought he took that disallowed goal really well – it would have been brilliant for him but we’re not getting that bit of luck at the moment.”
Having had his patience rewarded, Newell obviously hopes he did enough against Accies to keep his place. He said: “You don’t sit on the bench hoping the team does rubbish, getting better is good for everyone. You remain professional, train well and when your chance comes, hopefully you do well and take it.”