Hibs boss Nick Montgomery: I'm still confident I can take club where it should be

Hibs boss retains faith in his ability to succeed despite battle to reach top six

Hibs manager Nick Montgomery says he is still “confident he can take the club where it should be” despite the Easter Road outfit facing a desperate fight for their place in this season’s Premiership top six.

The Hibees trail sixth-placed Dundee by one point going into their final pre-split fixture away at Motherwell on Saturday, having blown the chance to seize the initiative in the race for the final place in the top half of the league last weekend when losing 2-1 at home to St Johnstone. The team was booed off the pitch by the home crowd, with Montgomery coming in for fierce criticism from sections of the fanbase.

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Arriving from Central Coast Mariners in Australia, Montgomery took over at Hibs from Lee Johnson in September and has guided the club to the semi-finals of the League Cup and the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup. However, their league form has not been consistent and as a result, will need favours from other teams and a positive result at Fir Park to meet the minimum requirement for a Hibs campaign. But despite the increasing pressure, the 42-year-old Yorkshireman has full belief that he can be a success at the club.

Hibs manager Nick Montgomery.Hibs manager Nick Montgomery.
Hibs manager Nick Montgomery.

“I’ve got big plans moving forward, obviously,” Montgomery said in an interview with the Edinburgh Evening News. “But what you can’t do is forget about the present. You can’t ignore the right now. I’m confident in where I can take the club. I’ve been here for a short period of time. I think the challenges I’ve had the season have made me a better person, definitely.

“I’m still confident that I can take the club where it should be. When I took the opportunity to come here, I knew it would be a big challenge. That’s why I came on a three-year contract, knowing that I’d need a bit of time to implement and build what I know success looks like.

“Look, I’m confident in my own ability. And I’m confident in the progress we’ve made at the club. But people will only see the results. I can’t change that. But anyone around the club or within the club knows that there have been a lot of challenges this season, a lot of change.

“Right now, the club is going through a transition which was expected. I think January showed a big transition in a tough window. I’m confident. I get on really well with the board and the Gordon family. Like any manager in football, unless things change and people don’t see the progress, maybe conversations follow at some point. But right now I’ve had the full support from the board and from the ownership.

“As frustrated as everyone is that we’re not in the top six now, we could still have an opportunity this weekend. Yes, we have to rely on results tomorrow night in the Dundee v Rangers game. But we have to believe we’ll go to Motherwell with a chance.”

Hibs are set to go through another period of transition at the end of the season, regardless of where they finish in the table this term, after the approximate £6 million investment from American billionaire Bill Foley. Hibs now have a tie-up with Foley’s Black Knight consortium and are closely aligned with Bournemouth, Lorient and new A-League outfit Auckland. Foley’s ambition for Hibs is for them to become the clear third force in Scottish football.

“I’ve been in football a long time and knew, coming in, the challenge ahead of me and expectations around the club,” continued Montgomery. “Coming in, the club was in a really difficult place. And the target was to get as far as possible in the cup competitions – and target finishing in the top six. We threw away a real opportunity at the weekend, a chance to make it easier to get into the top six. Now we have to do it the hard way, relying on other results.

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“But coming into the club, I knew the situation, I knew there had been a lot of frustration over many years. That can easily come back off the emotion of one result. It happens sometimes.

“I look at the big picture, as a manager. I look at the direction the club is going in. I know that the club is going in the right direction. There has been a lot of stuff going on this season, a lot of challenges, a lot of media stuff about the Bill Foley investment. All positive for the club. But I also know everybody wants overnight success.

“That’s not how it works in football or in life. Expectation versus reality at times is difficult to balance. What is the timeline on that? Because everything takes time. It’s that simple.”



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