Hibs skipper David Gray has revealed players were left shocked by news manager Neil Lennon had been suspended by the club.
Gray claimed to have only been made aware of the situation on Friday night while watching television. The right-back confirmed there had been a meeting attended by players and coaching staff earlier that day at which frank views were delivered. But, he added, it was not an unusual occurrence following a defeat, nor was the criticism out of the ordinary.
Hibs lost 1-0 to Motherwell last Wednesday night and it is set to prove Lennon’s last match in charge. The club again proved tight-lipped yesterday on Lennon’s fate as Eddie May, the head of academy coaching, and assistant Grant Murray took charge of the 3-1 win over St Mirren in Paisley.
Hibs responded with three second-half goals from substitute Oli Shaw, Darren McGregor and Steven Mallan after going 1-0 down in the first half following Simeon Jackson’s opener.
Afterwards Gray sought to provide some insight into the turbulent events since Friday and said he was as shocked as anyone when news of Lennon’s suspension emerged. Assistant Garry Parker is also currently staying away from the club. “It came out on Sky, that’s the first time I was made aware of it,” said Gray. “Then the next day there was a meeting with the football department saying: ‘Listen we have a job to do, what goes on goes on’.
“It’s above our head,” he added. “We just see what happens.
“You are always shocked in that situation. I don’t think there is any other way to put it. The run of results has not been good. The players take full responsibility for that. There is no other way of looking at it. We were looking at ourselves thinking: ‘things need to be better’. That’s how it is in football. You need to react. We knew how important today [v St Mirren] was. Thankfully we managed to put that right.”
According to Gray, the squad’s relationship with Lennon was as it was when the manager first arrived, in the summer of 2016. “The last two-and-a-half years since the manager joined the club we have been moving forward all the time, it has been really good,” he said. “Results have not been fantastic recently.
“In terms of the relationship between the players and the manager it has always been the same. That’s just the way it was. The run of results has not been good.
“Everyone knows there was a meeting, it was nothing to do with anything out of the ordinary,” he added. “It is just the way the game goes. We knew and take responsibility for our own performances. It was just a normal debrief of the game. We knew it was not the right result [v Motherwell].”
May confirmed his willingness to take charge of the team for as long as it takes to sort out the Lennon situation. Hibs host Aberdeen this Saturday.
“I know you have 101 questions, it’s probably more important than the bloody game, but I don’t know anything so I can’t say anything,” he said with
reference to Lennon.
“I have been involved with the first-team since the Championship, so it was just a case of preparing the team and trying to win a game of football. It’s different when you are picking the team, I appreciate that, but all we were focused on was winning.
“Hopefully I won’t be here [the job] for long to be perfectly honest with you. I’ve had one stint at it [at Falkirk] and always said I would never do it again. But what I have to do for the club is what I have to do for the club.”