Letters to the sport editor: Hibs fans back Derek Riordan in pitch battle as Hughes' tactics continue to baffle

DEREK Riordan is appealing, through the Players Union, the fine imposed on him by Hibs for complaining about the state of the Easter Road pitch. I can say without fear that every Hibs fan is on the side of the player here. Shooting the messenger will solve nothing.

Of course there are many reasons for Hibs' dramatic fall-off in form from early season – many have pointed out their diminutive midfield men are too easily muscled off the ball and when Riordan, Anthony Stokes, and possibly Liam Miller are tightly marked, there is no one else of real class in the side to take on the burden.

However, that there has been a straight-line-graph fall in Hibs' fortunes in conjunction with the weather, and potato field pitches cannot be denied. Their best recent performance was on the pristine bowling green pitch at Celtic Park, where they won, and they fought a good 1-1 draw with Rangers at Ibrox on a similarly level playing field. Of course two teams play on the same field but a team that was winning games with high-speed, on-the-deck, accurate passing is clearly affected more than the hoof-it-up-the-park merchants from the other side of the capital and elsewhere.

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Methinks Yogi Hughes is as aware of this as any fan or player.

ALEXANDER McKAY, New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

PAUL Forsyth finishes his report on the Hamilton v Hibs match (Scotsman Sport, 12 April] with reference to the number of goals Hibs are conceding, and the statement: "It is not the only mystery that needs solving at Easter Road."

As a season ticket holder, to my mind the mysteries that need solving are how Rod Petrie thought John Hughes was the right man for the job in the first place, given that his record at Falkirk shows a couple of good cup runs and a constant battle against relegation. And what goes on during the week at the much-vaunted training ground? Going by performances on the pitch there has been no benefit to date.

Hughes and his management team appear to have confused everyone with what his "vision" is. Players are out of position, and are asked to compete in midfield when they are hopelessly outnumbered by the opposition. When you see players holding out their arms as if asking for divine guidance and pointing fingers at each other when the goals are conceded, then there are problems.

My biggest concern however is that the present management team do not know how to sort this out and each week is more of the same. It may be John Hughes' dream job but it is turning into a Hibs supporter's nightmare.

GORDON McLEOD, Lasswade Road, Dalkeith