Ben Williams: Hibs have not ‘downed tools’

Shot-stopper says capital club are not too big to go down, writes Alan Temple

Hibernian goalkeeper Ben Williams says his team need to take as many points as possible to avoid a potential relegation play-off at the end of the season. Photograph: Gary Hutchison/SNS

BEN Williams insists Hibernian are not too big to go down but has dismissed accusations that the Easter Road outfit have “downed tools” as they slip closer to the Premiership drop zone.

Terry Butcher’s side succumbed to a miserable 2-0 defeat against their capital foes Hearts at Tynecastle last Sunday, blowing a tantalising opportunity to relegate their rivals.

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It was a seventh consecutive league match without a win for Butcher’s boys, leaving just six points separating them from 11th placed St Mirren – and a potential relegation play-off at the end of the season.

The dismal run has left some observers questioning the desire of the Hibs side. However, Williams is adamant everyone inside the Easter Road dressing room is fighting for their future and are scrapping to avoid an unthinkable relegation alongside their city rivals.

The former Manchester United keeper said: “We have been in this battle for a couple of weeks now, there’s no bones about it.

“We made it clear to each other that whether it was top six or not we were not becoming involved in the play-off. However, we are firmly in that now, we have to believe it. There’s no team too good or too big to be sucked in to the play-off.

“We have six games left and we need to take a many points as possible. We have a small cushion over St Mirren, but that means nothing especially when we have to go there and play them.

“I saw that notion a week or two ago that maybe players are downing tools. But the stark reality is players at our level do not earn enough to be able to down tools, rest on their laurels and retire from the game.

“You have to work hard now for any sort of contract at any club, whether you want to remain at Hibs or want to try to better yourself and play for a bigger club elsewhere that’s going to pay more, you have to deserve it.”

Williams is one of those Hibs players who are out of contract in the close season, along with the likes of Kevin Thomson, Tom Taiwo and Paul Cairney.

But the club’s 2012/13 player of the year knows there will be no contract discussions until the spectre of relegation has been removed.

He said: “I’m in the same boat as everyone else, but I do not think now is the time to discuss any sort of contract.

“I think the manager would reiterate that and probably the chairman as well.”