Lonely and sick: Hibs defender Darren McGregor opens up on Rijeka red card anguish

Too honest to hide from the role his sending off played in Hibs’ European exit, when Hibs defender Darren McGregor casts his mind back to last month and that night in Rijeka, he describes it as one of the longest and loneliest of his life.

“Listen, that was an absolute sickener. But, I can tell you that there was not one person in this world that was more gutted than myself when I was sent off.”

In the starting line-up in place of concussed captain Paul Hanlon, two yellow cards saw him sent packing in the 67th minute. That was not long after the Leith side had fought their way back into the game, thanks to Kyle Magennis’ equaliser.

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But, down to ten men, they were eventually beaten 4-1 by the Croatians and the Rijeka goals could not have caused the whole-hearted player greater pain had they been deflected in off his genitals.

Hibs defender Darren McGregor displays his anguish as he is sent off in the Conference League qualifier against Rijeka. Photo by Nikola Krstic / SNS Group

“It was an awful feeling, sitting in that changing room and then two minutes later hearing the crowd erupt. I knew it was 2-1 and it just got worse. That was the loneliest 20-30 minutes of my life, just sitting there, on my own, listening to goal after goal.

“I felt absolutely sick. But when I’m sitting there, what else can I do?

“It was the longest bus journey/flight. If ever there was a time when I wished a game had been at Easter Road and I could just get back up the road, it was that game. So it was difficult but it is about how you recover and deal with it. I knew going into the Kilmarnock game that weekend that anything less than a clean sheet and a decent performance was unacceptable so that drove me on. The Kilmarnock performance and result were a by-product of that.

“Every single player makes mistakes. It is about dealing with them and bouncing back. Everyone tries their best but the reality is we won’t go through life without making mistakes, so as long as you have the right intentions and you are trying to do the right thing you just have to learn from those mistakes.

“People will probably look at that and say he’s 36 and he’s still not learned his lesson but you have to keep learning all the time.”

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