Ron Gordon '1000% committed to Hibs' as he speaks on Premier Sports Cup disaster, club's progress, and his five-year plan
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"But I felt worse for everyone at the club. We still have improvements to make so I feel really badly for them when the football doesn't deliver, because they're working super hard."
The Easter Road figurehead is speaking shortly after the ignominious penalty shoot-out defeat by Morton following a 1-1 draw. Prior to our meeting in the South Stand boardroom, the administration gaffe that led to the suspended Rocky Bushiri playing against the Cappielow side had been identified and the club charged, but the outcome was still to be determined.
Gordon is somewhere between mortified and crestfallen.
"We're all very disappointed after the Premier Sports Cup, and I understand exactly how the supporters feel. I do. I just want the supporters to know that if they're disappointed, then I am beyond disappointed,” he continues.
"I'm obviously emotionally engaged with the club but I see the hard work everyone is doing behind the scenes to take us to the next level so when you lay an egg, like we did against Morton, it's a kick in the guts.”
Despite this result – ‘it's demoralising, but it's sports, so you have to pick yourself up and go again’ – Gordon is broadly satisfied with his three years at Hibs.
"The club is making a tremendous amount of progress, and there are a lot of positive things happening on the football side and the business side,” he continues.
"We're trying to build a great club and I'm very proud and happy with the progress we've made.
"The last few months haven't been that great but we had good runs in the cups, a good finish a year ago, and were in Europe, so that was good.
"We've put together the development team. We have a better structure around football and the calibre of the team is very promising.
"The Under-18s were champions last year so that was excellent, we've reformatted the academy and I think we're in a much, much better place with that.
"We've upgraded the facility at HTC so it's an even more elite-type of environment.
"We've integrated the women's team into the club and on the first-team side, although we're having transitional and growing pains at the moment, I honestly think we have a very solid squad.”
The five-year plan that Gordon outlined when he first took the reins is around 85 per cent ‘done, or being done’.
He continues: “We had Covid smack in the middle; that was a year and a half of lost opportunity and lost momentum.
"But generally speaking, most of the initiatives that we put in the plan on the football side – finishing in the top four, cup semi-finals, playing in Europe – we've achieved. We just need to do it consistently."
From the window we can see the big screens and new digital advertising boards around the pitch. On top of that the hospitality offering in the Main Stand is being upgraded, the PA system has been improved, and there are a lot of partnerships – ‘more meaningful, substantial, and longer-term, giving us an underlying financial base that allows us to grow’, adds Gordon.
But many supporters are, understandably, more concerned with the result on a Saturday.
"The fans care about the football first and foremost, and I get that. Everything we're doing at the club is about making the team and the football programme better,” Gordon states.
“I am very confident, not only in Lee Johnson – because I think we've made a very good hire – but in his squad, and his management team, and the staff at HTC, which I also think is first class.
"There are areas we need to improve, but we've been very busy, but generally speaking we have upped the calibre of the talent around the club.
"I honestly think things are going in the right direction. There are so many good things happening at the club.
"Hopefully the fans can see that, but at the end of the day the football is the most important thing. A bad result can undo the positive feeling from some of the good things away from the football side of things."
On recruitment, Gordon is excited by the summer signings that have seen Hibs shop in Australia, Croatia, Gambia, Portugal, and Switzerland.
"There are perhaps three, four, five who could be really positive contributors. David Marshall; great signing. Aiden McGeady, we need to see how he fits in. But we've added a nice balance of experience and skill to the team,” he says.
"The two building blocks for me are finding the best young Scottish players, and the best of the rest. We go looking wherever we can to find really good players and that's what we're doing.”
Away from the team, and the improvements on and off the pitch, can Gordon sum up the last three, eventful, years?
“The past three years have been probably one of the greatest things to have happened in my life, and I've had a lot of great things happen in my life,” he smiles.
"I'm blessed to have this opportunity, I'm 1000 per cent committed to Hibs and making this club all it can be.
"There will be disappointment, but there will also be some glorious moments.
"I think we have a very good plan and a very good vision for the club. We're not going to get everything right, but we're definitely moving in the right direction.
"It doesn't happen in a year or two, or three. It takes years. I just hope the fans will come along for the journey, because it's going to be an exciting one.”