Talking point: Hibs fans can expect a summer of change at Easter Road

"It's just to change everything about".

Sunday, 19th May 2019, 8:35 pm
There could be significant changes at Easter Road this summer. Picture: SNS

When quizzed about the decision to let Mark Milligan go Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom offered his reasoning, and it is one which will be music to the ears of supporters after watching their side give up a one-goal lead to Aberdeen in the final game of the season.

Hibs were the better side for around 43 minutes of the first half against the Dons at Easter Road, and displayed an attitude which the manger had mentioned in his final programme notes of the campaign, noting his players had given "everything since the day I walked in".

Aberdeen required to better Kilmarnock's result but it was the home side who were playing as if something was on the line, plenty of skill, inventiveness and urgency. Yet, Sam Cosgrove netted an equaliser on the stroke of half time, and when James Wilson put the visitors in front there wasn't the sense that Hibs had it in them to hit back.

It has been a strange season for the Hibees. A year ago they looked like they were set to kick on under Neil Lennon. No one could have imagined they'd now be managed by Paul Heckingbottom.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

When he arrived on February the team were languishing in eighth, 11 points behind Hearts. Few would have put money on the club finishing in the top six, let alone leaping above their city rivals. They improved greatly, looking more organised and structured, winning their first derby at Tynecastle in six years.

In turn they finished above their city rivals for the fourth season running when both sides have competed in the Scottish top flight.

At one point it even seemed a European spot was a possibility. However, the split has shown the side's limitations. Three defeats, two draws and only two goals scored.

The team do not have that clinical edge which Heckingbottom spoke about and which Aberdeen, who aren't the greatest team to watch, possess.

As things stand the Englishman has a small squad at his disposal with a number of players heading for the exit door. It gives him a canvas which has plenty of blank space in which to work on and suggests that it will be a busy time in Leith - and, of course, an exciting time for fans with a number of players likely arriving.

The team requires added power, height and physicality in various departments as per the demands of Scottish football. With the likes of Scott Allan, Daryl Horgan and Stevie Mallan, plus Fraser Murray, there are nimble and skilful creators at the club.

They needed added penetration, more pace and a player or three in the midfield to win those battles and provide that balance.

In defence, the back four which started against Aberdeen had an average age of 31. Ryan Porteous will be back for pre-season but fresher impetus to challenge the status quo will be welcome.

It is the time when speculation starts and fans put on their Football Manager hat, the front door of the Hibs Training Centre will be one to keep an eye on in the coming weeks and months.