Joe Newell reveals next Hibs manager choice that 'players would be behind' as he agonises over Hampden red card

Hibs didn’t want to see out the remainder of what has been a turbulent season looking over their shoulders.

Having gone from European hopefuls a couple of weeks ago, the prospect of being dragged into a relegation play-off would have been the final indignity. But, against a St Mirren side who are facing struggles of their own, they finally managed to secure their first league win in two months to bounce back from last weekend’s Scottish Cup exit.

“It was a really important game and we put a lot of emphasis on that all week. We knew how crucial it was going to be,” said Joe Newell, who confessed that the past week has been a difficult one after he was sent off at Hampden and then saw a second manager this season pay the price for poor results.

“What I would say is that no one felt worse than me after that game. I was absolutely distraught but I wasn't going to come out and apologise for it because if I'm not competitive in games then there is no point in me being out there. Was it a stupid tackle? Yeah, to be honest it was. But there was no-one more distraught than me. I was gutted. It is part of the game and it is a learning curve for me but it just happened to come in a crucial game. Hopefully I will learn from it and next season, in these big games, I will keep my cool but I know I messed up and it was a very tough week.”

With Shaun Maloney sacked after just four months at the helm, it was former captain David Gray overseeing things and although the team were afflicted by the same lack of penetration that has undermined them this term, the interim boss was able to serve up a well-overdue league win when Ewan Henderson finally got a shot on target, and gave them the lead in the 73rd minute.

“Dave needs no backing from me to tell you what he is like as a man and as a football man,” said Newell, who described his former colleague as a gifted man-manager. “He is a legend at this club and has so much respect from the players and everyone at the club. It’s not just the players, the coaching staff as well. He is a great guy so whatever the club wish to do with that is up to them but the players would be behind him.

“We knew we needed a win and the last thing you want is to be looking over your shoulder because it gets a bit nervy. It’s nice to finally feel we should be safe really.

Joe Newell is blocked by St Mirren's Alan Power during Hibs 1-0 win in Paisley on Saturday. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

“But you want to be competing for Europe and in a cup final and it’s crap, to be honest, when you are playing games at the end of the season that are for nothing.

“I have had that before down south and you are mid-table and not competing for the play-offs but it is what it is. That’s the season and it’s not just down to the last few games, it has been the whole season and we just haven’t been good enough. Today it was really just good to get the job done.”

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