Under-fire Hibs boss Nick Montgomery says he is still man to lead club - every word from press conference after Aberdeen horror show

Hibs boss comes out fighting after ‘difficult’ defeat against the Dons

Manager Nick Montgomery believes he is still the right man to lead Hibs despite watching his team capitulate 4-0 at home to Aberdeen in the Premiership.

The Dons were comfortable winners at Easter Road to heap more pressure on Montgomery. Many supporters left the stadium well before full time and those that remained booed loudly at the end, with a small section staging a sit-in protest in the East Stand. With Hibs undergoing a full football review, the Yorkshireman’s future is up for debate and despite being spared the axe last month when the club failed to make the top six, the capital outfit said in a statement that results needed to improve in the remaining five matches. So far in the bottom six, Hibs have defeated St Johnstone 3-1 but lost 2-1 to Ross County last weekend before this horrific defeat by the Dons.

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When asked if the defeat by the Dons changes the club’s position on him, Montgomery said: “No. Since the statement came out there’s been a lot of people taking what they want out of it. For me it’s not really changed anything. We wanted to finish the season strongly. We had a real good result and performance at St Johnstone. We had a good performance but not the result at Ross County, a mistake cost us the game.

Hibs manager Nick Montgomery applauds the supporters after Hibs' 4-0 defeat by Aberdeen at Easter Road.Hibs manager Nick Montgomery applauds the supporters after Hibs' 4-0 defeat by Aberdeen at Easter Road.
Hibs manager Nick Montgomery applauds the supporters after Hibs' 4-0 defeat by Aberdeen at Easter Road.

“Today the performance was very good for 30 minutes then after that it was really flat and disappointing. There’s two games and six points to play for. Nothing has changed. I knew coming in it was a big challenge, this season was going to be difficult. There’s been difficult moments and today was a real difficult one. But you have to stand tall and I’ve told the players we need to put it right on Wednesday.

“Yeah, I remain confident. I believe in myself and in the direction I feel I can take the club. Those were the discussions we had when I took the job. Of course, my worry was managers have changed numerous times. But the board were really supportive.

“I have had one January transfer window. I tried to bring in players to improve the squad and felt like we did. But with a summer transfer window coming up and the chance to bring in players on permanent contracts and have a good pre-season, which is really important to build a culture and environment, I believe in myself. But results like today don’t help because there has been a lot of frustration and negativity around the club for a long time.

“I have said we need a bit of patience now. Change is difficult and uncomfortable. But today’s result was difficult for everyone because you don’t want to be losing at home and conceding the goals we did. That’s also because we don’t punish teams when we have chances and we had plenty of chances today.

Hibs' Paul Hanlon and Rocky Bushiri look dejected at full timeHibs' Paul Hanlon and Rocky Bushiri look dejected at full time
Hibs' Paul Hanlon and Rocky Bushiri look dejected at full time

When pressed if he will be allowed to see out the season, with a home match against Motherwell on Wednesday and then away to Livingston on Sunday, Montgomery continued: “I hope so. Unless anything’s changed. The discussions I had coming into the club, they knew the challenge we had this season. The big picture was the investment coming in from Black Knight moving forward, the opportunity to put your own squad together which every manager wants to do. I keep saying we need four or five players, we need quality in the building. There are players moving on who are out of contract. There is definite change coming and we need a little bit of patience.

“Moving forward, we need more leadership. But we also need more quality in key areas. It’s quality over quantity. We need a strong starting team and bench. That can get us where we need to be. Some young players have done well this season but results can overshadow that at times.

“The players are hurting in there and I’m hurting as a manager. We lost that game on not doing the basics well. We were chasing it in the second half and it wasn’t good enough. The players are dejected and the frustration of the fans is difficult to play with and helps the other team as well. It was a difficult afternoon. There have been some difficult moments this season, but that was real tough one. It was an embarrassing result for us at home.”