The importance of Hibs keeping their best players spelled out
At Hibs, the determination to hold on to their best players, while trying to recruit more quality, shows an ambition that everyone at the club can tap into, according to Ryan Porteous.
In a difficult transfer window, the Easter Road club have balanced efforts to recruit fresh faces with the ongoing mission to retain as much of the quality already in their midst.
Which is why Martin Boyle was given a new contract and why work is going into improving Kevin Nisbet’s current deal.
“The fans have a massive expectation,” said the Hibs defender, after his 100th game for the Leith club. “They expect us to be third and fourth every year. We should be looking to do that. But we need to keep our best players and the manager needs backed. Ron Gordon is certainly doing that.
“As a player, if I’m playing with quality week in and week out then it will help us.
“And, if Aberdeen and Hearts are spending big money then we need to keeping hold of our best players and adding to them.”
Middlesbrough defender Nathan Wood watched from the stand ahead of his switch and he is not expected to be the last recruit before the transfer window closes on Tuesday.
“We have talked about ambition at the club before,” added Porteous. “I’m a Hibs fan and it’s good to see times are changing and we are holding onto our best players.
“Kevin is one of them, he is really important to us. Numbers wise he gets goals and assists and showed today that he scores a goal out of nothing.
“Against a team like Livingston who are digging deep and working hard then the longer the game goes 0-0 the better for them. Our crowd might get on our back a bit. But big players arrive in big moments and Nissy is definitely one of them.
“That’s why he is in the Scotland squad. He has had a great start to the season and Martin Boyle is the same at the end with his goal.
“He has run about daft all day but then to find a finish like that out of nothing is brilliant. We are delighted the pair of them are still here.”
Both of those players found the net to ensure victory over Livingston on Saturday and see them retain their position ahead of capital rivals Hearts, who they face when league action resumes after the international break.
In a match of limited chances, Nisbet’s finish came five minutes after the break, Boyle’s, minutes from the end and both were timely against a Livingston side who been forced to field a team of their least injured, least poorly players and then spent the day fighting fires as Bruce Anderson passed out on the pitch with a diabetic episode, and a couple of their players spent half-time throwing up.
But, Hibs also had their woes and Jamie Murphy limped off with a recurrence of his hamstring problem. “The boys dug deep,” said Porteous. “It wasn’t pretty at times but we deserved the three points.”