Hibs' Chris Mueller admits teammates find him 'a bit different' as he takes a leaf out of his own book

When it comes to positive thinking, Hibs forward Chris Mueller has, quite literally, written the book on it. Then handed it out to team-mates.

Bet on Yourself, subtitled How To Build Unshakeable Confidence, Tune Out The Noise, And Rise To The Occasion, was published before the US international transferred from Orlando City to Hibs but, arriving at a difficult time of transition, with coaches and players coming and going and wins proving tough to come by, his positivity could be one of his most valuable assets.

Stuck in a bit of a winless rut on league duty, the attention turns to the cup this weekend and the thankless task of trying to suppress the ambitions of another in-form lower league side.

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In the previous round the Leith side required extra time to beat League One leaders Cove Rangers at home, but this afternoon they are on the road and the opposition has improved, with Championship pace-setters Arbroath the side looking to end their Scottish Cup involvement prior to the quarter-final stage for only the second time in eight years.

Chris Mueller has shared copies of his book with his Hibs teammates.  (Photo by Bruce White / SNS Group)Chris Mueller has shared copies of his book with his Hibs teammates.  (Photo by Bruce White / SNS Group)
Chris Mueller has shared copies of his book with his Hibs teammates. (Photo by Bruce White / SNS Group)

All eyes are on them. But Mueller believes that fortunes can change for the better in the blink of an eye, provided everyone at the club understands that the power to improve lies within.

“You need to believe that it can all change in one moment.

“When you’re on top, something can happen and take you straight to the bottom. When you’re down low, something can happen and take you back to the top.

“It’s not easy right now when we’re having a run like this but, ultimately, it’s the most important time to have a positive mindset.

“In order for us to stick together, you have to maintain that mind-set inside the locker room.

“I try to bring it every day.”

It has been a bit of an eye-opener for team-mates, who have had to adjust to Mueller’s approach.

“They definitely think my positivity is a bit different, just in the way that I see things. But I think that’s good - to challenge people a little bit and help them out of their comfort zones.

“Some guys have asked for a book, so I’ve given out a few copies. But I haven’t given them all. I’ll leave it up to them if they want to read it.

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“If they want to, great, I’ll give them a copy. If not, then it’s no sweat off my back.”

Arbroath are a side with tremendous team spirit, and their belief in themselves has been a bedrock as they upset the odds. And, Hibs’ 25-year-old winger gets it.

“You come up against teams that are regarded as being the underdog, it can be a real challenge and you need to try and put yourself in the perspective of the other team that it is coming into a game where it means everything to them.

“I’ve been in that position when I was in college. We ended up playing an USL team and it was a huge deal for us - we treated the game like it was life and death and you can sort of get that feeling going into a game like this.

“Unfortunately, we lost that game but we put up a good fight.”

A bad loser growing up, whether that be in football, baseball, basketball or wrestling, he still hates defeat but he no longer allows it to eat him up.

One of his college trainers gifted him a book called Mind Gym and he bought into the self-improvement message, turning his college career around and clearing a path into the MLS, the national squad, and now the Scottish Premiership.

“It’s definitely a side of the game that can take more attention and we can invest a lot more in it,” insists Mueller. “Arguably it is more important than the physical side because so much of this game is mental and it is a roller coaster of highs and lows, ups and downs. You win one week, you lose one week, and you can be affected by that, especially with how much you are under a spotlight.

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“There is always going to be that white noise in the background but, honestly, I have evolved a lot, even since I wrote that book, I am learning a lot more because I am very intentional about it and I would say that even in terms of proving other people wrong, first and foremost I want to prove myself right. We want to prove ourselves right in terms of the things we believe we can achieve.”

And, that starts with a win at Gayfield and the hope of a triumphant cup run which would provide a positive opening chapter if Mueller decides to write a follow-up book.

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