Shaun Maloney seeking to reap benefits of early winter break as he settles in at Hibs

Hibs boss Shaun Maloney is determined to make the most of the rearranged winter break by allowing his players time to recover from a hectic schedule but also seizing the chance to implement more of his ideas.

By Patrick McPartlin
Friday, 24th December 2021, 6:00 am
Shaun Maloney wants his players to rest and recover during the early winter break but he is also keen to work with them more on his ideas and style of play
Shaun Maloney wants his players to rest and recover during the early winter break but he is also keen to work with them more on his ideas and style of play

The Easter Road side travels to Tannadice on Boxing Day for the final fixture of the calendar year, with the scheduled matches against Celtic in Glasgow and the New Year Edinburgh derby all pushed back to January.

Maloney feels it is a shame to be playing Dundee United in front of a reduced crowd but is eager to use the early time off to his advantage – even if he’s keen to avoid treating the circumstances as advantageous.

"It just made sense that this was going to happen,” he said after masterminding a 1-0 victory over Aberdeen in his first game in charge.

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"I think it’s even a shame to curtail the Boxing Day crowds to 500 but that’s where we are at the moment, it’s not a sporting reason.

"When you see supporters at games it’s like a different spectacle and then for the finances of our league the fans are so important so I think it makes sense all round.”

Maloney is relieved his players will have time to recuperate earlier than expected, especially after the Covid-19 outbreak that ran through the club last month.

"In such a tough situation, it’s difficult to try and use it as a positive, but it gives the players some recovery after the Covid issue and their schedule has been super tough.

"They deserve a break. The two weeks can hopefully be used to put a few principles in place, or at least try to.”

He has already been impressed by how the squad has taken his ideas on board, adding: “They were good; better than good really. I felt like there were certain areas where we could have been even braver in possession but I maybe need to temper that slightly – it was two sessions, but they are such an open-minded bunch and have given me everything in the last two days and during the match.”