What Paul Hanlon said in Hibs dressing-room in wake of Hearts defeat

Gutted captain Paul Hanlon says he wants Hibs players to be hurting in the wake of their derby defeat by Hearts.

Ellis Simms and Paul Hanlon in action during a cinch Premiership match between Hearts and Hibs at Tynecastle.
Ellis Simms and Paul Hanlon in action during a cinch Premiership match between Hearts and Hibs at Tynecastle.

Acknowledging that there will come a time when they need to pick themselves up and turn their attentions to the upcoming Scottish Cup meeting, he first wants them to understand just how damaging the loss was and then channel that feeling into ensuring they do not suffer the same painful outcome at Hampden, on Saturday.

The defender was furious as he headed up the tunnel at full-time, fuming that the team had given up their early advantage and thrown away the chance to see out the rest of the season in the top six and vie for one of the European places, going down 3-1.

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It means their season now hinges on the semi-final and their ability to better their capital rivals and progress to the final.

“I just spoke there and said that we need to suffer a bit,” said Hanlon. “I want everyone, especially the younger lads who are here, to feel how sore it is so we know how big next week is.

‘We need to get to the middle of the week and really focus on what we need to do better going into the semi-final. If we are going to win that one we need to be a hell of a lot better than we were today.

“That can obviously put us in a cup final which would be nice to be back there again. But in terms of the league campaign it’s disappointing. It’s not where we wanted to be but we are going to have five highly competitive games from now until the end of the season and we need to be ready for them all.”

At Tynecastle on Saturday, the Leith side took a fifth-minute lead courtesy of Drey Wright and enjoyed the better of the first half. But conceding goals either side of the interval, from Andy Halliday and then Stephen Kingsley left them on the back foot and seemed to knock the stuffing out of them.

“If we had come in at half time 1-0 up it would have been a really positive team talk. But we all felt we were still in the match. With hindsight now, it’s easy to say maybe it did affect us.”

Halliday added another in the 58th minute.

And, there was dismay at how little fight Hibs showed, especially when there was such a big prize at stake.

“It’s terrible,” admitted Hanlon. “It’s not where we should be. We’ve had numerous chances over a number of weeks now to put ourselves in a far more comfortable position. It doesn’t just come down to this match.

‘We’ve had loads of results where we should have picked up more points. It’s on us, really. It’s probably what we deserve.

“We’ve probably had difficulty putting full performances together. We’ve had spells when we have done well and spells where we have not done well and been punished.”

There is a chance to minimise the damage if Hibs can pull themselves together in time for their latest trip to the national stadium but it has now become an all or nothing endeavour.

Hanlon knows that but he says it is important that the rest of the squad understand that, too.

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