Ivan SPROULE today admitted the pressure was beginning to tell on struggling Hibs as they remain locked in a desperate battle with Dunfermline to avoid relegation.
But the winger insisted no-one at Easter Road was throwing in the towel, adamant there is still all to play for even if the remaining few weeks of the season promise to be a “tough slog”.
Although they have lost an astonishing 54 goals in their 27 SPL matches so far, Hibs remain just ahead of the Pars on goal difference and have a game in hand after both sides crashed to defeat again last night, the Capital side going down in a seven-goal thriller at Motherwell while Dunfermline lost 2-0 at champions-elect Celtic.
Sproule, though, described the fact Hibs had scored three at Fir Park and yet emerged empty-handed as “criminal.”
Isaiah Osbourne had Hibs ahead at half-time with his first goal for the club but there were an incredible six more after the interval with Motherwell striker Michael Higdon claiming a hat-trick.
Two of them came from the penalty spot, with team-mate Jamie Murphy also on target, while Matt Doherty and Sproule netted for Hibs who have now lost 13 goals in their last four league matches.
Sproule said: “We are not really giving ourselves a chance with the way we are defending some of the goals. We are bottom of the league for a reason, we only have 19 points for a reason and that’s because we have not been good enough all season.
“I am not shying away, I am as much to blame as anyone else, no-one is turning round and saying they are not at fault. Everyone in the changing room is taking responsibility. It’s going to be a tough slog between now and the end of the season, but what do you do? Throw in the towel? We are still on the same points as Dunfermline, we have a better goal difference so there is all to play for.”
However, Sproule conceded the relentless grind of trying to haul themselves out of trouble was exacting a toll. He said: “You can definitely feel the pressure. It’s probably the first time for a lot of the lads to be in the position of scrapping in a relegation battle.
“We’ve probably not had much experience of it but what we do know is our livelihoods are at stake. I for one know what I have to lose for my family.
“It’s not easy at all. You want to play and be on top of our game but when you are down around the bottom and things are not going your way it’s hard to get that free-flowing football. We’ve let each other down, let the gaffer down and most importantly let the fans down again. But I’d plead with them to stay with us because they will play a massive part between now and the end of the season.”
Sproule, meantime, is set to miss the Edinburgh derby against Hearts at Tynecastle on March 18 after collecting his sixth booking of the SPL season last night.