'Hibs have failed': Nick Montgomery says bottom six is not good enough after devastation at Motherwell

Late leveller ends Hibs’ hopes of pipping Dundee to the final top-six spot

Nick Montgomery admitted Hibs have failed to hit one of their key targets this season and that it is not “good enough” to be in the bottom six of the Premiership after their 1-1 draw with Motherwell ended their hopes of pipping Dundee into sixth spot ahead of the league split.

Leading Motherwell 1-0 at Fir Park thanks to a 65th-minute penalty from Myziane Maolida, Hibs were seconds away from jumping above Dundee by a point ahead of the Dees’ rearranged match against Rangers on Wednesday, only for Shane Blaney to lash home a late leveller and crush Hibs’ hopes along with Dundee’s 0-0 draw at Aberdeen. The Steelmen’s own slim aspirations of reaching the top six were ended by the result, but it was the Hibs players who left Fir Park “devastated” following the draw.

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Conceding late goals has undone Hibs on more than one occasion this season and Montgomery lamented the nature of Motherwell’s equaliser, which came in the final minute of stoppage time. “As you can imagine, the boys are devastated, dejected,” revealed Montgomery. “It’s 20 seconds to go, the fans are elated, we’re elated. Twenty seconds later, it’s devastation.

Nick Montgomery and Hibs failed to reach the top six after conceding a late goal to Motherwell.Nick Montgomery and Hibs failed to reach the top six after conceding a late goal to Motherwell.
Nick Montgomery and Hibs failed to reach the top six after conceding a late goal to Motherwell.

“I think it’s a game we should have won comfortably. We had enough chances to completely kill the game off. But if you don’t take them, if you make the wrong decisions in key moments, you can rue those missed chances. That was certainly the case today. We didn’t concede a shot on goal for 94 minutes.

“That has happened a little too often. You can say it’s unlucky. You can say it’s an injustice. But what we have to do is take responsibility, clear the header, clear the second ball. It’s a wonder strike by the boy. But it’s their only shot in the game. It’s cost us two points and it’s cost us a spot in the top six.

“It's not good enough for Hibs. You have to earn the right to get anywhere in football. You have to earn the right to get into the top six. As a club we have failed to hit one of our targets and that was the top six. The other two were progress in the cups, which we did to a good level. But the big target was to try and get into the top six.

"I've tried everything I can to get there. We've had stuff that's probably been challenging for us, but as a club, yeah, we have to look back at the start of the season, before pre-season, and how we've ended up in this position where we're going into the last game 20 seconds away from the top six. It's a 20 seconds away from not being good enough and unfortunately the results – last week as well – have gone against us and it's really hard to explain how that's happened."

Hibs' Rocky Bushiri reacts after full-time whistle.Hibs' Rocky Bushiri reacts after full-time whistle.
Hibs' Rocky Bushiri reacts after full-time whistle.

Just like last week in the wake of losing 2-1 to St Johnstone, the Hibs players were jeered by a sizeable away support. “I understand the fans, for sure,” continued Montgomery. “It’s been a frustrating season. The start of the season was really difficult, I came in, we’ve had some good periods, some tough periods.

“We’ve had a lot of challenges this season – and the fans don’t deserve some of the stuff that’s happened to them this season. I thought they were great today, they got behind us. And with 20 seconds to go, if we hold out, there would have been fantastic scenes at the end. So of course, a game you should win, you drop points and it costs us a point in the top six, I can totally understand their frustration.”

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell praised his team for coming back to earn a point and missing out on a top six place themselves, he urged his team to finish best of the rest. “It’s a challenge because there’s teams like Hibs and Aberdeen with their resources,” he said. “I won’t be accepting anybody coming in with an attitude that they can take it easy. We need to kick-on and I can assure you that we will be all guns blazing. We will give everything to give everything for this football club.”



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