HIBS manager Pat Fenlon has been under fire from fans who have been calling for his sacking but yesterday he was the one doling out the verbals and it was his players who were on the receiving end.
Furious at an inept and listless first-half showing, he read them the riot act at the interval and while the response was not immediate, they did end the game with plenty of passion and their first point of the campaign.
“There was a little of relief that we scored and picked up a point but it wasn’t a great performance,” said Fenlon, pictured right. “The first half was very, very poor but the sending off seemed to galvanise us and we started to get going and we ended the game very strongly.
“For some reason, I don’t know why, but after the sendings off we wanted to scrap and fight for the ball but we didn’t want to do that before that. I said that to them at half time, I said we haven’t shown any desire or passion to win the game. We got beaten by our big rivals last week and we should’ve been coming in and bouncing into it with a determination to kick on but we only did that after the sending off and I’m disappointed we didn’t do that before that.”
The man who scored the equaliser, Scott Robertson, was at a loss to explain the switch in attitude on the park but insisted the players are giving their all.
“It was our first goal and first point of the season and that’s not good enough but it is a start. It was an important goal because another defeat would have meant a dreadful start to the season and while it’s still not good enough at least when we went down to ten men, we managed to get the ball down and started to create a few chances.”
The removal of Gavin Gunning from the Dundee United ranks certainly seemed to unsettle the visitors more than the loss of Kevin Thomson upset the play of the home side, who had been well aware of the foul mood of their fans in the stands.
“It is frustrating on the pitch as well but I definitely felt for the fans when we went a goal behind again and we weren’t playing as well as we should or could but the fans were brilliant in the second half when we started playing a bit better,” said Robertson.
“The manager at half time was animated and he didn’t hold back. He was very angry with us. We didn’t play well but I can only speak for myself but I never give any more or less in any game, whether that’s a reserve game, a friendly or training, but out there it wasn’t good enough and the manager let us know that. The first half was poor and I can’t keep defending us. It’s hard to put your finger on it but after the sendings off the game seemed to open up for us and we did create a few chances. Now we need a win. I don’t know where it’s going to come from, we had hoped we would get it in this game, but it was better than last week. A point is not as good as we wanted but it is a start.”