Shaun Maloney must be given time at Hibs, says former Easter Road boss

Former Hibs manager Mixu Paatelainen has stressed the importance of allowing Shaun Maloney time to get things right at Easter Road following last weekend’s derby defeat by Hearts.

Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 7:30 pm

Speaking exclusively to the Evening News, the Finn – who had two spells with the Capital club as a player between 1998 and 2003 before returning as manager in 2008 – insisted constantly changing the man in charge achieved nothing.

"It has taken quite a bit of time since Shaun came in. Sometimes for new managers it doesn’t take much time, sometimes it takes longer,” he explained.

"It depends on the players as well: how receptive they are and how they understand the game. How clear the manager and the coaching stuff are is a big factor as well.

Hibs and Shaun Maloney have endured a tough run of form in recent weeks

"There has to be clarity, and the players have to be receptive.”

Paatelainen, who scored 41 goals in more than 130 appearances for Hibs across his two spells, believes that half the battle is putting in the hard yards at the training ground.

“A lot depends on what happens in training – if it’s just nursery games, small-sided games, I don’t think the football they want and the football the fans desire will come,” he continued.

“I’ve not seen Hibs’ training sessions so it would be wrong for me to comment but I would be very surprised if Shaun and the coaching staff are not working their socks off on the training ground to try to get the team playing the way Shaun wants.”

Mixu Paatelainen knows only too well the pressures that come with managing Hibs

Drawing on his own experience as Kilmarnock manager, Paatelainen insisted managers needed time to turn things round and that quick fixes weren’t always doable.

He recalled: “We were due to play Hearts at Tynecastle on a Sunday and the way the Saturday fixtures had gone, we were bottom of the league.

"We went to Tynecastle, beat them three-nil, and things started to fall into place, how we wanted to play. We comfortably made top six and ended up having a really good season.

"It takes time putting all the pieces together. Some players get it quickly, others need a little bit more time.

"You need to be patient, it doesn't happen overnight. If the manager is sacked after two to three months or four or five months, I think it’s wrong.”

Mixu Paatelainen was speaking ahead of An Afternoon with Mixu, a Q&A event for Hibs fans in Leith on Sunday June 5th.

For tickets go to headlineevents.online/mixu