What Nick Montgomery has just said about Hibs win v Sunderland after Rangers loss

Nick Montgomery has been talking to John Greechan about Hibs’ exploits since the defeat at Rangers
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With a fixture pile-up on the horizon, you wouldn’t necessarily expect Hibs to go looking for extra football. After all, the prospect of playing five games – including a major semi-final at Hampden – in the space of just 15 days would be enough to make many a sports scientist wince in anticipation of an inevitable overload.

Not yet two months into a new job and aware that his fringe players have been short of minutes, however, Nick Montgomery has been prepping his men for the congestion ahead. And offering chances to recent non-starters – youngsters and old-timers alike – to play their way into contention.

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Monty took a Hibs squad to Sunderland for a bounce game on Monday, the fact that his pick ‘n’ mix selection – all of the subs from Saturday’s loss at Ibrox, as well as some under-18s – ran out 3-0 winners against a strong Black Cats XI not the only reason he was purring about the day out. Knowing that he’ll need to call upon the entire squad as Hibs play Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday before the next international break, he has to know who is ready for action.

Montgomery revealed: “We actually had a game against Sunderland yesterday, a reserve game for the boys who didn’t start at the weekend and needed minutes. They got some good minutes in a bounce game down there. That game was already arranged, they had quite a few first team players involved in the first half, we took a few young boys down as well. But everyone who didn’t start against Rangers got some playing time.

“We took all the subs from Ibrox, plus boys from the 18s. We’ve still only been here for six weeks. So it’s important that the boys who haven’t been playing get the opportunity to put their hand up. Obviously we had a good run, we’ve got another good run of midweek games coming up now, so it’s just important that everybody is raring and ready to go.

“As a player, there’s nothing worse than training every week not having games – and then you get thrown in and are expected to compete at that intensity. I was always one, as a player, when I got asked to play in reserve games my answer was: ‘Absolutely, no problem’.

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“I think it’s important that everybody gets good minutes because we need competition for places and we’re still early in the season. All the boys put their hand up, because all you’re really looking for is effort and application.

“It was a good result, as well, we won 3-0. But it was an important opportunity for guys to put their hand up – maybe not for this weekend, maybe it is for this weekend, but we’ve got games every few days for a bit.”

Goals from Lewis Stevenson, Jair Tavares and Allan Delferriere made the journey back up the A1 pleasant enough, with Montgomery insisting that he had good reasons – approved by the strength and conditioning experts – for taking on the fixture.

“Whether it was the youngsters of veteran players, it was important for the boys to play and show application,” he said, adding: “We got out of it what we wanted.

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“For example, Rocky Bushiri had been away for two weeks on international duty but didn’t play, then obviously only played 20 minutes against Rangers. He got a good 60-70 minutes yesterday, which topped him up to 90 minutes effectively, making sure he’s caught up with everybody else.”

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