‘We have to act like men and put it right’ - Under-fire Paul Heckingbottom confident he’s still the man for Hibs

Paul Heckingbottom believes he is the man to turn things round at Hibs but admits he is feeling the pressure after yesterday’s derby defeat by Hearts saw his side slump to second bottom in the league.
Paul Heckingbottom delayed his arrival at his post-match press conference so that he could get in the right frame of mind. Picture: Ross Parker/SNSPaul Heckingbottom delayed his arrival at his post-match press conference so that he could get in the right frame of mind. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Paul Heckingbottom delayed his arrival at his post-match press conference so that he could get in the right frame of mind. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

Everything looked to be going to plan for the Yorkshireman after Steve 
Mallan’s spectacular shot gave Hibs the lead shortly after half-time. But goals in response from Uche Ikpeazu and teenager Aaron Hickey sealed Hibs’ fate and saw Heckingbottom become the target of the fans’ ire after the final whistle. A group congregated outside the Easter Road main stand and chanted: “Hecky, Hecky, get tae f*ck”.

Heckingbottom delayed his post-match press conference because he was not in the right “frame of mind” but when he did take his seat in front of reporters was willing to take questions on where this latest defeat left him.

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“I am feeling it,” he said. “They are not games you want to lose whether you are on a good run or a bad run. Would I feel differently if we had won the two games before? I don’t think I would. It is tough to take.

“You want the win and you want to turn things around and you want to put right the things that are going wrong but I wouldn’t call it any differently. This is a sickener and it is a sickener in its own right. I understand the frustrations because the manner of the defeat is a tough one as well.”

He stressed that he was not the right man to ask about the potential consequences of a third league defeat in four games. Hibs travel to face Kilmarnock in the last eight of the Betfred Cup on Wednesday before hosting champions Celtic on Saturday.

“I have no problems answering those questions,” said Heckingbottom, below. “You will ask me them and 
I will answer but you are asking the wrong person.

“The minute I start worrying about that or making decisions based on that I am not doing my job. My job along with the staff and the players is to put it right on the pitch. Other things are not our remit or our decision. We have to focus on our job, stand up, be strong, act like men and put it right – no 
hiding place.”

He is convinced he can arrest the slide and bemoaned his side’s lack of cutting edge, something again exposed yesterday. Apart from Mallan’s goal from 30 yards out they created precious few clear goalscoring opportunities.

“Have I got confidence that I can turn it around?” he said. “Yeah, no problem. I’ve got confidence.

“But there’s no hiding place from what’s going on. Similar to the game we played against Hearts here last year [in April], we should have been out of sight and got punished near the end. We need to be more clinical.”