'Worst he has been in terms of raising voice': Paul Hanlon says Hibs saw different side to Jack Ross

Defender reveals how manager scolded team against Hamilton

Friday, 24th January 2020, 6:00 am
Hibs boss Jack Ross with his players after the 2-1 win over Hamilton. Pic: SNS

Paul Hanlon has revealed how he and his team-mates saw a different side to head coach Jack Ross as he tore into them following a dire first-half performance against Hamilton.

One goal down to Alex Gogic’s header, Hibs had delivered their poorest display since the manager’s arrival at the club – and he wasn’t slow to let them know.

“That’s the worst he has been in terms of raising his voice and forcibly getting his point across,” said the defender. “He’s a straight-talking person and has a calm way of speaking most of the time. But he knows that if he needs to have a go at us, he can. It was probably the angriest we have seen him.”

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Hanlon admitted there was no argument to be had with the boss, conceding: “We were sloppy in possession, conceded a sloppy goal and most of Hamilton’s chances came from our sloppy play. We were one-paced and off it and we put ourselves in a difficult position.”

Ross backed up his dressing down with two half-time substitutions, Stephane Omeonga and Joe Newell replacing Vykintas Slivka and Melker Hallberg, those changes followed minutes later by a third as Daryl Horgan came on for Scott Allan. The drastic surgery worked, Christian Doidge equalising and then Hanlon dramatically heading home the winner four minutes from time from Martin Boyle’s cross – his first goal of the season.

“It had the desired effect,” said Hanlon of Ross’s rant. “He made a couple of changes and the wee go he had at us did the trick too. He got the right response.

“I was delighted to get on the end of the cross and, more importantly, get us the win. You can’t get away with it against anyone in this league.

“I thought we were poor, but I didn’t think Hamilton were by far better than us or were carving us open or anything like that – any chances they had were our mistakes. I knew if we could put that right we could go on and win the game.”

Hibs head to Motherwell tomorrow, Fir Park the scene of another under-par display by the Easter Road side back at the end of August when they crashed to a 3-0 defeat.

But, insisted Hanlon, the fact Hibs came from behind to defeat Stephen Robinson’s team 3-1 when they later visited the Capital, was proof that competition in the Premiership is fierce.

He said: “It just shows on any given day that outside Celtic and Rangers, there isn’t much between all the teams really. There is no stand-out worst team in the league. There is no stand-out third-place team.

“It’s all very tight and as the first half against Hamilton showed, if you are not at your best 100 per cent, then you will be punished. We will go there and hopefully get a good result rather than reflect on the defeat we had there earlier in the season.”

The presence of Boyle does, admitted Hanlon, give Hibs hope regardless of the opposition, the Australian internationalist having bounced back from a second knee operation to hit the sort of form that had Celtic’s head of football operations Nick Hammon and Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill among the onlookers on Wednesday night.

Boyle, who Ross afterwards said was “the last player” he’d want to lose from his squad, had a hand in both of his team’s goals, his shot coming off the post for Doidge to knock home the equaliser before he provided the cross for Hanlon to score.

“Martin is a great outlet for us to have with that pace,” said Hanlon. “If you can get him on a one-to-one in certain situations there are not many people who can live with him. Obviously, he is full of confidence right now and producing the end product as well.

“Hopefully he can continue that form as he is a great asset to have in the squad.”

Having initially arrived at Easter Road on loan from Dundee under Alan Stubbs, Boyle has flourished and, more recently, has put the injury worries which all but wrote off his 2019 behind him.

Hanlon said: “He has improved all sides of his game. He is just full of confidence, that’s the biggest thing in football.

“If you are full of confidence and looking forward to every game you are playing in, confident you will get the better of your opponent, then it brings out the best in you.

“You can definitely see that in Martin now. He has the joker side to him and we all love that. But I don’t think you come into the team so seamlessly after such a serious injury without working hard and looking after yourself.

“He has the joker side to him but there are probably times if you asked the fitness team that they had to push him when he has been down – everyone has those days – but all credit to him to come back so fit and so sharp right away.”