Stevie Mallan confident voices of experience can revitalise Hibs

Hibernian's Stevie Mallan. Picture Ross Parker/SNS
Hibernian's Stevie Mallan. Picture Ross Parker/SNS
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Stevie Mallan believes a candid squad summit led by captain David Gray can arrest Hibs’ recent slump.

The capital club – in common with city rivals Hearts – have endured six matches without a victory, slipping into the bottom half of the Premiership and failing to display the attacking panache that has become synonymous with Neil Lennon’s two-and-a-half years at the helm in Leith.

Lennon’s right-hand man, Garry Parker, said yesterday that the coaching staff have sought to make training upbeat and enjoyable in a bid to keep spirits high and foster confidence.

That need to avoid a malaise setting in has also been recognised by senior players such as Gray, Paul Hanlon and Steven Whittaker, who fronted “lively” talks in the aftermath of Hibs’ dismal 3-0 defeat at Kilmarnock.

“It was the experienced boys having a chat with the full squad,” said Mallan. “We have a good nucleus. We have older guys like Davie [Gray], Paul [Hanlon], Lewis Stevenson and Stevie Whittaker and you learn a lot from those players and what they have to say.

“They have been through different highs and lows in their careers, so it is good to get the knowledge. It also helps the younger ones be a bit more confident in the dressing room and get a chance to speak. Everyone here knows the script. We’ll keep what was said in-house but it was just a lively chat among the boys.

“We know what we want to do as a club and we have set our targets and goals, particularly looking towards the end of December. Hopefully, after this run of games we will know roughly where we’ll sit in the league and can set the next set of goals after that.”

Having emerged through the youth ranks with tonight’s visitors, St Mirren, Mallan has a welcome sense of perspective regarding Hibs’ current travails.

While he is eternally grateful for the platform he was given in Paisley, his maiden campaign as a first-team player ended in relegation and he experienced what a true club in crisis looks like.

“When I first broke in at St Mirren, we were down at the bottom of the league,” he continued. “I was just a young boy and it wasn’t a nice place to be.

“Most seasons at St Mirren I was near the bottom of the league. I have been through relegation battles there and taken a lot of experience from that.

“I never want to get back to that. I want to be at a club competing near the top of the league. I think everyone in the Hibs squad knows it’s just a little blip just now.”

“We might be in the bottom half of the table now, but wins against St Mirren and Hamilton on Saturday can take you right back up into the mix. That would give us real confidence going into a run of games with Celtic, Rangers, Hearts.

“They are massive fixtures against the sort of sides we want to be up competing with. We want to be a force in this league and over the next few games I think we’ll show we can do that.”