HIBERNIAN manager Terry Butcher has urged his players to prove they are worth keeping hold of this summer.
The Easter Road boss admits he has never felt lower in his five months in charge than after Sunday’s 2-0 Edinburgh derby defeat to Hearts.
Hibs could have relegated their city rivals with a win but are now staring at a record which shows just one win in their last 13 games.
Butcher knew his side needed a major overhaul in January but only managed to bring in Notts County striker Danny Haynes, Sunderland winger Duncan Watmore and Arsenal defender Daniel Boateng on loan - none of whom have impressed so far.
The Leith boss - who has 14 players out of contract at the end of May - will attempt to make the changes he believes are badly needed once the season is over but insists his current players can still convince him they have a future with six games remaining.
Speaking ahead of Monday night’s home clash with Aberdeen, the former England skipper said: “There are still opportunities for everyone. It’s not as if I’ve made my mind up.
“We have chopped and changed the team and given everybody the best possible chance that they can have. I don’t want anyone to say to me, ‘I wasn’t given an opportunity’.
“We are still trying to blend a team together that will win matches but we haven’t got those combinations right.
“These next six matches are a chance for everyone to stand up and be counted and show me they want to be in the team.
“We’ve been backed into a corner. Losing to Hearts has been the lowest part of my time here. But we need to come out fighting.”
Gary Locke’s men staved off the threat of relegation with their Tynecastle win as Dale Carrick’s early strike was complimented with a late second from Billy King.
But Butcher denied the chance of banishing the Jambos to the Championship had distracted his players.
“We never thought about that at all in the build up to the game,” he said. “It wasn’t the relegation issue that put us under pressure, but rather the fact we lost the early goal.”