Hibs fans’ grumbles ‘will remind new recruits how big expectations are’

Robbie Stockdale believes the grumbles from the stands during Hibs’ Betfred Cup clash with Alloa Athletic will have brought home the expectations of the supporters to head coach Paul Heckingbottom’s summer signings.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 6:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 7:30 am
Hibernian assistant manager Robbie Stockdale
Hibernian assistant manager Robbie Stockdale

While adamant the Capital side fully deserved their 2-0 win, Heckingbottom’s assistant admitted to a sense of frustration as their players struggled to get that all-important first goal.

He said: “We have watched the game back. For the first 20 minutes we could have been a couple of goals up, but we weren’t. Everybody expects you to roll these teams over, but they are very well organised and we found them hard to break down in the last 15 minutes of the first half.

“We made some tactical changes at half-time and I think we were quite comfortable winners.

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“If that was a pre-season game, there wouldn’t be grumbles at half-time. Because it meant something you could sense the frustration of the fans. We should have been a few goals ahead, but we weren’t and the frustration built.”

Stockdale accepted, however, that Hibs need to get better, although the format of the Betfred Cup is new to him, Heckingbottom and players from down south who, at this time of year, would still be playing pre-season matches.

Games against Stirling Albion, Alloa, tonight’s match with Arbroath and Friday’s clash with Elgin City all form part of that schedule for Hibs and Stockdale added: “The results are important to get out of the group, but you are still trying to get new tactics used and get the fitness up by rotating the squad. We’ve played different teams and it will be different again tonight. We want the new boys to get used to Easter Road.

“But we expect any team we put out to win games. I think when we look back on the games we have probably not got exactly what we deserved out of them. We are still getting up to speed but we have played well for good aspects of the games and we know we can get better.”

Arbroath defeated Hibs in their first pre-season friendly at Gayfield Park but, insisted Stockdale, that result will have no bearing on tonight’s match, a view shared by Red Lichties boss Dick Campbell, a veteran of 32 years in the dug-out as a manager.

Stockdale said: “Dick is a character, isn’t he? It was good to meet him at the friendly. I had heard plenty about him and he lived up to it.”