Hibs boss urges players to turn round criticism

HIBS boss John Hughes today urged his players to take criticism on the chin and use it as a motivator to make them into even stronger characters.

The Easter Road side have won just one of their last seven matches and were slated for their performance in the 4-1 defeat to Hamilton in the SPL at the weekend.

Their supporters were further angered by reports from radio pundits that the Hibs players were seen laughing and joking just minutes after that result as they performed their warm-down.

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However, Hughes, who experienced that kind of criticism himself as a player, insisted that his side can use it to their benefit. The Easter Road manager knows that it is crucial for his players to lift their spirits before this weekend's league clash with Celtic at Parkhead and said: "We are hurting right now, there's no getting away from that. There was a real disappointment from everyone, not only at the scoreline but at the manner in which we lost the game.

"We have come in for criticism and everyone seems to be having a wee go at us, but that's fine, this is football and we deal with that kind of thing. The boys have to learn to take the criticism on the chin and say to people 'is that right?'.

"I want them to use the criticism to make them into stronger characters and to make them even more determined to go out there and prove people wrong.

"Yes it was a disappointing result, but we have got to draw a line under that now.

"The boys were in on Sunday to get the lactic acid out of their systems and to go over what had happened against Hamilton, and I think that has benefited us because we're starting afresh again. It's up to me to inspire them and to send them out there this weekend with a spring in their step."

Before Hibs can even think about their game against Celtic at Parkhead on Saturday though, Hughes knows that the Old Firm can do his side a favour tonight and tomorrow when they're in action against Motherwell and Dundee United.

However, he insisted that he's focused entirely on the Easter Road club and stringing some decent results together in the remaining weeks of the SPL season.

"We know what is at stake and we know that it won't be easy for us. All we can do is concentrate on what we're doing. It's easy to look at other games and think about the ifs and buts but we need to look after Hibs. Everyone else will take care of themselves."