DCSIMG

Hibs: I will be No.1 for keeps - Stack

GRAHAM STACK today admitted Hibs boss Colin Calderwood is facing an impossible task in trying to keep four goalkeepers who are all intent on playing every week happy.

Calderwood inherited a trio of goalies from former manager John Hughes and, during the January transfer window, brought in Jakub Divis to further increase competition with the Czech star vying with Stack, Mark Brown and Graeme Smith for the No.1 spot.

Although he began his Easter Road reign with Brown between the sticks, Calderwood has since rotated his goalkeepers, bringing in Smith for four games before turning to Stack following his recovery from a back injury which had sidelined him since the opening game of the season.

But, while insisting his aim is to play in every game between now and the end of the season, Stack, whose return coincided with victories over St Mirren and Kilmarnock, admitted he was in the dark as to Calderwood's plans for the remainder of the campaign.

He said: "The club is blessed with four very good goalkeepers and it isn't hard to keep four happy - it's impossible.

"It's great from the fans' point of view to know we have four good goalkeepers as you will always have soemone to come in and play. But, from my perspective, I want to play at the weekend and so do Brown, Smith and Divis. At the moment, I am delighted to be playing but there's that added pressure when you get the opportunity of having to play well because if you do not know how long you will be in because the gaffer has the option to change things."

Although he believes any team would benefit from having a settled goalkeeper, Stack insisted he accepts Calderwood as manager has the prerogative to deal with the conundrum as he sees fit.

He said: "I would say it would be better but I am not the one making the decision. It's the gaffer and, if he thinks that's right, then as a player you have to accept it and deal with it."

Revealing that in he's never come across goalkeeper rotation at the many clubs he has played for, Stack added: "The gaffer has come in to find three goalkeepers he has seen very little of. Two of us (himself and Smith] are out of contract at the end of the season. Brown had twenty-odd games, Smith has had the opportunity to play four and I have come in and played a couple.

"I think the manager is trying to have a look at everyone because it is very difficult to judge someone in bounce games and in training. That's the way he is going about doing things.

"In the longer term, I have no idea what he is thinking but we'll see whether he makes a decision after this and goes with the goalkeeper he feels is equipped to be his No.1. If that's his aim, you want to be that goalkeeper."Stack, who will be in goal against St Mirren tomorrow, has done his chances no harm in conceding just one goal - from the penalty spot - as Hibs have secured six precious points in their battle to pull away from the wrong end of the SPL table.

But, he insisted, as happy as he is to see the team return to winning ways, it is purely coincidental they have done so with him wearing the gloves.

He said: "Obviously I am pleased to have my chance to play and be part of a winning team after such a bad run. But it's not down to me, there have been a lot of good individual performances."

Revealing his return to action had been delayed due to the poor weather before Christmas robbing him of the chance to show Calderwood he was ready as a string of bounce matches were cancelled, Stack insisted that despite the precarious position he and his team-mates had found themselves in, spirits had remained high within the dressing-room.

He said: "This place has never been on a complete and utter down. Yes, when you come in after you have been beaten again there is a disappointment which you want because it shows the boys care and are hurt, that's natural. However, by the end of the week, come a Thursday or Friday, the place is upbeat again, the boys are ready to stick the shirt on and try to turn things around.

"But, yes, there has been a massive lift, you can see that in the stands where the supporters have been brilliant. You can understand their frustration because we have so much at our disposal to be a top, top club and it's difficult when a club like this is under-achieving."

 
 
 

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