Threadbare Hibs leave Monty desperately seeking reinforcements

Visitors struggle to narrow win over League Two opponents
Doidge and Levitt celebrate the striker's goal at Forfar.Doidge and Levitt celebrate the striker's goal at Forfar.
Doidge and Levitt celebrate the striker's goal at Forfar.

Hibs boss Nick Montgomery was happy to see his under-strength team escape with a 1-0 win to secure their Scottish Cup passage on a brutal day in Forfar. And he said being unable to fill the bench at Station Park was an accurate reflection of his current personnel crisis.

Montgomery, who does NOT expect to receive a windfall from Josh Doig’s transfer before the January window closes, could name only six substitutes for a game that saw the visitors rely on Christian Doidge – scorer of the only goal and responsible for a brilliant goal-line clearance during a horrible first half – to see off League Two opponents. With four players away on Asian Cup/AFCON international duty and a number of key men still injured, Hibs barely limped into the fifth round.

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Monty, who revealed that Hibs had been stymied in their bid to sign a new defender last week, said: “I think it shows how stretched as we are at the minute. There is no-one else available. Kanayo Megwa came back from loan but is cup-tied. Myziane Maolida will hopefully have his paperwork through, so that gives us another couple of bodies.

“But when I look back on the game now, it’s always a risk playing your strongest XI. So I wanted to give a rest to Jordan Obita, Dylan Levitt and Dylan Vente, because right now we are really stretched.

“We had academy kids starting today, Rudi Molotnikov getting his first start and Rory Whittaker getting another start. These are the games that turn you into men, because it’s not easy to deal with a lot of aerial balls, a lot of direct balls.

“We’re still waiting on a couple of boys to come back from injury. We’ve still got guys away on international duty. We can’t control that.

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“Myself and Brian McDermott (director of football at Hibs) are on the phone every single day. We were really close to a defender last week, then all of a sudden, his circumstances change at his club - and he wasn’t available the next day. We’ve got a couple of weeks and we’re working really hard to find the right re-enforcements for the second half of the season. We need players.”

Former Hibs left back Doig’s £5 million move from Verona to Sassuolo will see Hibs pocket almost £600,000 as part of a sell-on clause on the profit. Eventually.

Asked if that cash would boost his January budget, Montgomery said: “I wish it was that simple. Maybe the transfer’s done but there’s still a few weeks left and a lot going on at the club.

 “I knew this window was going to be tight. I don’t think any of that money will be in the budget. We’re desperately looking at a few more re-enforcements in, but it’s very, very difficult on the budget that we’re working with.”

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Commenting on his team’s performance in Forfar, Montgomery said: “I’m glad you weren’t standing outside the dressing room at half-time. I’m happy to get through to the next round, get the boys dusted down and get as many of them as we can ready for Rangers on Wednesday.”

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