Nick Montgomery's Hibs position now increasingly precarious as Aberdeen hiding leaves board with more headaches

Boos and empty seats as Hibees slip to ninth and heap more pressure on manager

This was not the result or performance from Hibs that their manager Nick Montgomery needed while the Hibs hierarchy consider how the club will look next season.

Montgomery, who arrived at Hibs in September, was spared the axe last month when the club narrowly missed out on top-six Premiership football, but in the wake of that failure, the Easter Road outfit launched a review from top to bottom and stated that fortunes must change in the remaining five post-split matches. A 3-1 win at St Johnstone was followed up by a 2-1 loss at Ross County and then this, a 4-0 humbling at home by Aberdeen.

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"We have also held detailed discussions with Nick Montgomery to understand what has gone wrong during the current campaign and mutually agreed that results this season have been disappointing,” read Hibs’ statement on April 17. “There’s an understanding that results need to improve.”

Hibs were easily swatted aside by Aberdeen at Easter Road.Hibs were easily swatted aside by Aberdeen at Easter Road.
Hibs were easily swatted aside by Aberdeen at Easter Road.

Against Aberdeen, boos rang out from the home fans before half time. Many natives have had enough. Results are not improving. The Dons played well in the capital and scored two lovely first-half goals through Leighton Clarkson and Dante Polvara but once they took the lead, Hibs’ resistance was meek. They are in danger of finishing ninth, with Aberdeen and Motherwell above them, and losing out on roughly £150,000 of prize funds.

Money, of course, is not tight at Hibs this summer. Billionaire Bill Foley has injected roughly £6 million into the coffers after taking on shares in February. His Black Knight consortium are leading the review. Will they trust Montgomery with their cash next season? He has two further matches in this campaign, against Motherwell at home on Wednesday and then Livingston away on Sunday, to enhance his credentials.

The same familiar failings dogged Hibs here in a match between this season’s biggest under-achievers: they could not take their chances and they were so weak defensively. It is quite easy to score against this team. It has happened 58 times this term, the third-worst record in the division. The whole afternoon felt cruel on long-serving club captain Paul Hanlon, the centre-half who is leaving in the summer after stellar service. He was left exposed at the heart of it all.

There was little he or goalkeeper Jojo Wollacott could do about Aberdeen’s first two goals, on 30 minutes and 39 minutes. Clarkson’s opener was a sumptuous finish from 25 yards, whipped past the Ghanaian, and Polvara’s strike – his first for the club domestically – was an equally impressive curled effort from just inside the penalty box after Jordan Obita was cheaply dispossessed by Nicky Devlin.

Hibs needed to score first after the restart to show their comeback credentials but like a knife through butter, Aberdeen sliced through the hosts’ rearguard and Bojan Miovski slotted home on 52 minutes. “Hibs, Hibs are falling apart again,” sang the healthy away support behind the goal as many Hibbies sloped out of the stadium. The visitors’ afternoon was complete when 16-year-old Fletcher Boyd tapped home on his debut in stoppage time. The Dons now sit seventh and with new manager Jimmy Thelin due to check in at Pittodrie next month, feel like they are on the road to recovery after their own travails.

Hibs still have plenty of theirs, however. This galling afternoon gave an already ponderous board more food for thought.



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