HEADING into their fourth league game of the season, Hibs manager Pat Fenlon remains under the spotlight, with his results and the performances of his players the subject of intense scrutiny.
Publicly backed by the board, the fans remain unconvinced. Many believe that the players’ inability to perform anywhere near their optimum indicates a deeper problem, one of the gaffer being unable to squeeze the best out of squad members who have impressed at other clubs under other managers.
Goalkeeper Ben Williams quickly dismisses that notion but he concedes the players have to start doing themselves and everyone else at the club justice soon if they are to end the speculation. It means the need for a win at Kilmarnock this afternoon is keenly felt.
“We’re only three games into the season and we’re answering questions about the pressure on the manager. It all just seems a bit premature but I suppose that is the nature of football at the moment.
“I don’t know how it comes across on the touchline but he is a very passionate man and he is committed to the club and to us as players. He wants us to do well and that is what we are all striving to do. We are all fighting for the same cause. We are all striving to better this club as players, manager, chairman and fans. We all want to win, regardless of anything else.
“There are definitely not any players who are not playing for the manager. I think it is just a case of the lads being a little bit low on confidence at the moment. Once the lads are positive and they have got their confidence back you will really see a different side to the players, I am sure.”
In training, the signs are good, maintains Williams, but now they need to take that into matches.
“Honestly, hand on heart, it’s not that far away, it’s really not. But the fans are well within their rights to give their opinion and exact any pressures that they want, as long as it is relevant and just. They pay good money to see their team win. It’s not always achievable, of course, football is like that, but the least they should be seeing is 11 or 14 players giving everything that they have got and playing for their positions and doing everything that they can do.”
Meanwhile Craig Samson is relishing the chance to pass on his experience to the young Kilmarnock goalkeepers who are following in his footsteps.
Samson, who played only once in his first spell at the club, returned to Rugby Park this summer after eight years away and has been named in the Scotland squad to face Belgium and Macedonia next month.
He said: “It’s a bit different coming back here having played games.
“If I can pass on my knowledge to any of the young goalkeepers then I’d be delighted to do that. There is a lot of talented youngsters here.
“When I was here before, Gordon Marshall, Colin Meldrum and Jim Stewart were brilliant for me and set me up in my career.”