Shaun Maloney 'can't criticise Hibs players' after Motherwell stalemate as he hails defensive trio

Hibs boss Shaun Maloney refused to criticise his players after a goalless draw against Motherwell at Fir Park.
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The Easter Road side struggled again to get many shots on target but their manager was a little more forgiving.

"I was actually really pleased with the performance although slightly disappointed we didn't take one of the chances that we had. But in these conditions, I've got to be happy with how the team played.

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"We created enough chances to win the game so while I'd love as many as possible, in terms of the chances I can't ask for too much more.”

Shaun Maloney was positive after the stalemate in North LanarkshireShaun Maloney was positive after the stalemate in North Lanarkshire
Shaun Maloney was positive after the stalemate in North Lanarkshire

Liam Donnelly’s dismissal 17 minutes from time gave Hibs a man advantage but they failed to capitalise, with substitutes Ewan Henderson and Christian Doidge both shooting wide in the closing stages.

"I think we maybe weren't as patient as we could have been. When a team goes down to ten men you want to attack as much as you can,” Maloney continued.

"We created a big opportunity during that period and these games are decided on fine margins, so I can't criticise any of my forward players.

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"I asked them to be brave and aggressive in that final third so when a chance is missed I can't criticise them.”

Three points for Hibs would have taken them into fourth so while they missed out on the chance to leapfrog the Steelmen, they haven’t lost any ground as they seek to haul themselves back up the table.

"We got a point closer to Hearts in third but it was an opportunity to go fourth, the first we've had.

"Considering where we were six weeks ago, in seventh, and to then beat Aberdeen and Dundee United away when they were above us, I have to be happy,” the Hibs boss said.

"I think it's been a positive start so far.”

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One positive was the performance of the back three, Paul McGinn – back from suspension – and Lewis Stevenson joining forces with new signing Rocky Bushiri, and Maloney was effusive in his praise of the trio.

"Rocky was outstanding tonight. Against their biggest threat he was excellent so really, really pleased.

"Lewis, I thought, was superb and Paul for his first game back from suspension. But Rocky was a stand-out, a really excellent performance from him.”