Hearts heap misery on Hibs, but Calderwood says squad ‘perfect’
A 2-0 defeat in the first Edinburgh derby of the season has ensured that the Easter Road side will stay at the bottom of the SPL table for at least a fortnight, with their next game not coming until Sunday week. Yet, while he admitted that his club’s position was an obvious concern, Calderwood expressed faith in his players’ ability to find a way out of it – and stressed he remained confident that he would be given time by the Hibs board to steer the team towards safety.
“What encourages me is the fact we’ve got game time into people,” he said, referring to the fact that several of his players are still making their way back from injuries. “The underlying talent of the group is way better than the results we’ve produced so far.
“We have got to take points to get off the bottom,” Calderwood added. “Everyone else has collected more than us and that’s an obvious concern.”
Asked if he was confident he would get the time to take them off the bottom, he said: “Oh, yes.”
Hibs have just three points so far, thanks to Garry O’Connor’s goal which gave them a first ever victory in Inverness. There are obvious deficiencies in most areas of their team, yet Calderwood insisted he was content with what he had to work with and would not be trying to bring in anyone else before the transfer window closes on Wednesday night. “We’re done. Ready to go. Perfect,” he said.
Yet although that remark indicated contentment with the business he has done in the transfer market, Calderwood accepted that his team’s play was far from perfect at Tynecastle, where they went behind to a goal late in the first half from Ryan Stevenson then lost a second some 20 minutes from time after Hearts substitute Eggert Jonsson scored.
“It was an OK first half, the majority of it,” the manager said. “Their chance [from which Hearts opened the scoring] was almost the first chance of the game, but if you get to half-time 0-0 you go into the second half quite good. But then we looked very uneasy and they created numerous chances for 15, 20 minutes in the second half, and in between that they got the second goal, which left us a hard task.
“The game was too long and we couldn’t keep them in their half at all. Because of that it went end to end and it suited them to put in a clearance.”
In a typically fiery derby, Hearts kept their discipline better, with Stevenson their only player to be booked by the referee. Five Hibs men received yellow cards, but Calderwood declined to criticise them for that. “No,” he said, when asked if he thought they had become ill-disciplined. “I really liked their passion today.”
Ivan Sproule, one of those booked, said the squad knew they had a battle on their hands if they were to haul themselves to safety. “It’s been a frustrating start to the season,” he said. “We’ve come here to get a positive result, even a point to stop the rot, but it has continued. The gaffer has had a few harsh words after the match and he’s not happy. We made a few mistakes, and if we don’t learn from our mistakes we’re going to keep on getting punished.
“We can’t shy away now. We know we’re in a battle. If we didn’t know we were in a battle before today we definitely know we’re in one now.
“Pressure always builds on the gaffer, but we’re the ones that are out there. Mistakes are happening and we’re getting punished for it. We’re letting him down as well.”