Going into today’s game against St Johnstone, Hibernian are sitting tenth in the Premiership table.
But caretaker boss Eddie May believes they are the third biggest club in Scotland and says the onus is on everyone involved to propel the side up the rankings in an effort to live up to that billing.
“This is the third biggest job in Scottish football, in my opinion,” said the coach. “Rangers and Celtic are on a different level because of the finances. But Hibs are the third biggest club in Scotland, in my opinion, and hopefully we go and show that in the next weeks, months, years ahead.
“We’ve done fantastically well over the past few years. The Scottish Cup win did enormous things for the club. On top of that, Neil [Lennon] came in and was very successful, getting us into Europe. But, we want to be in Europe every single year. To do that, you need to win games. Unfortunately, we’ve not done that and that’s why Paul left this week.”
The departure of Paul Heckingbottom – sacked after just eight months in the job following a poor start to the current campaign, that included just one win in the first 11 league games – sees the club’s hierarchy scouting for a replacement but in the meantime, May says his priority is to add to the win tally and build some momentum ahead of the new man’s arrival.
“Hopefully we can get the best out of them and get a result against St Johnstone. We’ve just been trying to get more attacking play, we want them to be brave, to make mistakes, you’re going to do that. But you have to fail to succeed and that’s the message we are trying to get across. We have some very good players in an attacking sense and we have to try to get the best from them.
“They have drawn too many games, that’s why the club made the decision. Hibs have got to be competing at the top and trying to get into Europe, and unfortunately they are not in that position at the moment.
“Hibs have been extremely successful in my time here. Even when they were in the Championship they were beating Premiership teams in the cup competitions, and beating them well. We have to try and keep doing that, but you need players to be brave and make sure they show what they can do and make a good impression for the club and the supporters.”
While the early part of the season has been a struggle, the fact that they have not been cut adrift is encouraging for May and, with a game in hand on most of the clubs above them, he does not consider the five-point gap between themselves and the top six and even the 13-point gap between ninth and third place as insurmountable.
“We have this game against St Johnstone and then we are playing Motherwell, so it could be cut quickly. That’s what we’ll try to do.”
With the board suggesting it could be the end of the month before they are ready to unveil a new manager, May could still be at the helm for the following matches against St Mirren and Kilmarnock.
“Let’s not be kidded, Hibs are more than capable of winning those four games. Well, Hibs should be capable. We’re a big club, we will go into every game feeling we should be able to win. We can’t go in feeling sorry for ourselves.”