Paul Heckingbottom speaks after Hibs-Livingston draw and says he has Ron Gordon's backing

Hibs boss says team shouldn't need harsh words at half-time after fifth successive draw

By David Hardie
Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 11:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 11:25 pm
Paul Heckingbottom was relieved to see Hibs take a point after trailing Livingston 2-0. Pic: SNS
Paul Heckingbottom was relieved to see Hibs take a point after trailing Livingston 2-0. Pic: SNS

Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom has claimed his players shouldn’t need a half-time dressing-down after they came from two goals down to snatch a draw with Livingston.

The Easter Road side looked to be heading for certain defeat - and the bottom of the Premiership table - after they’d gone behind to goals from Steven Lawless and Craig Sibbald.

However, they staged a second-half comeback, midfielder Scott Allan throwing them a lifeline from the penalty spot before substitute Martin Boyle - playing for the first time since undergoing a second knee operation at the end of July - equalised deep into added-on time.

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It was a fifth success league draw for the Capital club, but also a tenth game without a win - a run stretching back to the opening day of the season.

A relieved Heckingbottom, who had seen his players surrender a winning position six times this season, said: “I’m feeling everything. Listen, it’s different. You feel different coming back from two down to drawing from two up.

“Overriding it’s frustration. Look at the differences. It shouldn’t take tactical changes and bollockings to get people running about.

“All people want to see is drive and determination. That’s all the fans want. I hope the players take belief out of that, having not been dominant to start with, just giving it away.

“They’ve had to earn it. But there was a spirit in the second half, a determination and fight. Runs, tackles, fully committed.”

Heckingbottom was full of praise for Boyle, admitting that when the winger returned to training last week he didn’t envisage him playing against the Lions.

He said: “We started doing one-to-one things with him and in each session, he was trying to impress me and get back in.

“He earned his place ahead of schedule because he was ready. He’s done great for the team, his determination over the past two weeks has helped us.

“People will have to be patient. He’s missed that much football, but he’ll be working as hard as possible to get into the side.”

Heckingbottom has been well aware that he’s been under pressure, fans calling for his head following the weekend draw with Ross County and, in front of Gordon, there were further jibes aimed at him with Livingston two up.

But, he insisted, he has Gordon’s backing. He said: “We met yesterday and went out for dinner last night. It was good to spend time on our own, quite informal.

“He’s been great. Let’s not kid our selves, football is about results. Anyone who thinks different is deluded,

“We get on great, have similar ideas, both want to be successful. We want to be up where we were last year. The club would also like to progress in cup competitions.

‘But no specific targets. We have that regular contact, so it is discussed. The chairman is keen to build something sustainable, being a team who are regularly in Europe, not a yo-yo team. That’s what everyone wants.”