Marvin Bartley speaks on Hibs exit and makes claim about Paul Heckingbottom's team

Marvin Bartley has given his thoughts on his Hibs exit in the summer, after spending four years in the Capital.

Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 3:39 pm
Former Hibs fans' favourite Marvin Bartley in action for Livingston
Former Hibs fans' favourite Marvin Bartley in action for Livingston

The 33-year-old, who played more than 100 games for the Hibees and helped them to Scottish Cup glory in 2016 and the Scottish Championship title a year later, was signed by Alan Stubbs and also featured under successor Neil Lennon and current head coach Paul Heckingbottom.

Bartley departed Easter Road in the summer after signing a pre-contract deal with the West Lothian side, closely followed by fellow defensive midfielder Mark Milligan who joined Southend United, and believes a change in playing style was the catalyst for the pair's exit.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound programme on Monday night, the former Burnley and Bournemouth star - who played under three different permanent managers during his time at Hibs - said: "Me and Mark were probably better when Hibs didn't have the ball.

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"If you’re thinking that you’re going to be a team that’s going to have a lot of possession, like Celtic or Rangers, then you’re probably thinking to yourself, ‘Well, maybe we don’t need a holding midfielder as such, maybe we could have almost like a deep lying playmaker’."

Heckingbottom brought in former Bolton midfielder Josh Vela over the summer, while Sweden cap Melker Hallberg arrived towards the end of the transfer window. Development squad member Josh Campbell, who has since joined Arbroath on loan, was deployed in a defensive midfield role during the early Betfred Cup group stage matches, while Stevie Mallan and Vykintas Slivka have also been played in a deeper role this term.

Fans have suggested that the club should have retained one of Bartley or Milligan following a poor start to the campaign which has seen the side ship 15 goals in just five matches.

Bartley continued: "What Hibs are now finding difficult is that they don't have a lot of the ball - they’re being countered a lot.

"They don’t have anyone within that role to stop these counters.”

Bartley played 13 times for Hibs last season, his final appearance coming in a 2-1 loss to Aberdeen at Easter Road on the final day of the campaign. He signed a three-year deal with Livingston after leaving Hibs.