HIBERNIAN legend Pat Stanton grew up watching the Famous Five and played for Turnbull’s Tornadoes, but he admits he now fears for his beloved club after Sunday’s calamitous relegation.
The former Hibs skipper and manager insists the signs were there that the Easter Road outfit were in serious trouble long before they were faced with must-win encounters against Ross County, Kilmarnock and Hamilton as the season drew to a grim climax.
The 69-year-old recently urged the squad to stop feeling sorry for themselves and take matters into their own hands by coming to terms with the seriousness of the situation facing them. However, he is clear in his assessment that the players who consigned Hibs to an uncertain fate in next season’s Championship were simply not good enough.
As they prepare to battle with Rangers and Hearts for the one automatic promotion spot next year, Stanton has major concerns over the future of the club. Backing yesterday’s massive clear-out by manager Terry Butcher, Stanton said: “There’s got to be a big fear for the future of the club now. This did not happen two or three weeks ago, it’s been coming for a while now with the sub-standard players we’ve got.
“The worrying thing all along has been that these other teams have got better players than Hibs and it should have been addressed – by whoever was in a position to change it. The signs were there, a lot of people saw them. Okay, on Sunday they were within almost a heartbeat of getting out of it and, of course, we all wanted Hibs to stay in the Premiership. But, watching what happened on the day, Hamilton were the better side.
“There was more than half of the Hibs team who were not up to the task. One or two dug in and did their very best, but an awful lot of them were not good enough. This was not just a bounce game, this was a game that was about the future of the club, and they were not up to it. People have said it was down to the way they were playing, but I’m of the opinion the players are not good enough, it’s as simple as that.
“They had umpteen chances to get out of trouble, but you could see it coming. The unfortunate thing is it looks like there were an awful lot of people at the club who were not aware that it could go wrong.
“One player in particular, James Collins, said they would be all right. That was nonsense to say that. Hearing of all the players that have left, it’s got to be that way. The fans expect the club to clear the decks and get on with it, but it’s going to be very difficult next season with Rangers and Hearts in the division.”