Sol Bamba insists Hibees will help young defender bounce back from red card at Inverness

SOL BAMBA today revealed how he felt for Paul Hanlon as he trudged off the pitch at the Caledonian Stadium, having been red carded just five minutes after being brought on as a substitute in the 4-2 defeat to Inverness.

However, the Ivory Coast internationalist reckons his young team-mate has a huge future ahead of him for club and country and expects him to bounce back stronger than ever after his suspension.

Hanlon will miss two matches following his sending off, which was for a deliberate handball right on the goalline to prevent an Adam Rooney effort from crossing the line.

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Bamba conceded that any one of the Hibs' backline might have done the same thing had they been in Hanlon's position, and he has been impressed by the way the Scotland Under-21 player has developed during the time he has been at the club.

He said: "I think that by the time he touched it, the ball was maybe over the line anyway, but the referee decided to give the penalty and show Paul the red card.

"I might have done the same thing, when something like that happens it all goes so quickly. It was a shame for him because he is a good player, he has played a lot of games for the first team now and he is captain of the Scotland Under-21s side as well. I have been at the club for a couple of years now and he seems to get better all of the time.

"Now he will definitely miss two games but it could have worked out for us last Saturday. Sometimes the opposition miss the penalty kick, unfortunately that didn't happen this time around but there's nothing you can do."

Bamba has played the last three SPL games alongside Francis Dickoh in the centre of defence, his new team-mate having signed for Hibs at the beginning of the season from FC Utrecht.

Dickoh arrived at the club with a wealth of experience and Bamba believes the two can build a fruitful relationship on the park: "He is a very good player, I like playing alongside him, he has got a lot of experience and we try to work as much as possible together in training because when you have a new partner in the position that we play in, it is not easy, to begin with.

"He has only been here a short time but I already think that we make a strong unit. Some of the goals we conceded at the weekend were quite sloppy so we will continue to work together and made sure that kind of thing doesn't happen again."

Hibs had played just seven minutes at the weekend when they conceded the first of four goals, Richie Foran getting the home side off to the best possible start.

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They doubled their lead from the spot after Hanlon had been sent off, but it was their next two goals which frustrated the big Ivory Coast defender the most.

Derek Riordan and Liam Miller both gave Colin Calderwood's side a glimmer of hope of rescuing at least a point only for Hibs to allow Caley to reply to each of those strike within minutes and regain their two-goal advantage.

Bamba says Hibs can ill- afford those kind of mistakes again and added: "When we scored our two goals, we needed to then go on and score another one straight away. But we let them get straight back into the match and that was our big mistake.

"When we got it back to 2-1 there were about 15 minutes to go but they scored another one to make it 3-1 almost straight away. Then we scored again to give ourselves a chance of taking something from the game but the same thing happened.

"It is difficult to say what went wrong against Inverness. It was a lot of things, we passed the ball too slowly for a start, and when we watched the video back on Monday morning we could see why we did not win the game.

"The tempo was too slow and I think that probably suited Inverness because they were able to get eleven men behind the ball and try to play us on the counter attack. I don't think that we dealt with that properly, like we know we can, and on top of that we conceded an early goal as well.

"That was a big problem for us because when we went behind after just a few minutes the team went down.

"We were all very disappointed by that but we have got to put it behind us now and move on.

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"I think we also have to take some credit because when we went down to ten men we played some good football and managed to score two goals. At that stage, we really had nothing to lose, we just tried to play our game after that. I think we should have done that from the start, to be honest, but for some reason we just didn't get a rhythm going until then.

"Unfortunately, we left it until it was a bit too late. Like the manager said, though, there was still some positive stuff to take from the game and we have got to focus on that side of things.

"The most important thing is that we don't concede any more early goals like we did on Saturday because that means you are up against it before the game even gets going."

Bamba has been one of the mainstays of the Hibs side over the last couple of seasons but is one of the 16 players who are out of contract at the end of the season. Calderwood has said that he is keen to resolve that situation, as much for the players' sake as for that of the Easter Road club.

Bamba, who signed for Hibs from Dunfermline in September 2008, has played his football in Scotland for the last five years but, more recently, has been linked with a move to several English and European clubs. The player himself insists that he does not know what the future holds for him, but is simply focusing on ensuring that season 2010-11 ends on a high for Hibs.

"I will just have to wait and see what happens. There are quite a few of us out of contract in the summer so I don't know what the club is going to do.

"We all just have to work hard and then see how it turns out. Obviously the main thing is that the club finishes the season in the top six and hopefully in one of the European positions - why not third?

"If the club has a good season then I think there is a better chance for us to sign a new deal or be offered a new deal, so it would be good news for everyone.

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"I have been in Scotland for a long time and I enjoy playing my football here, I even feel like I am Scottish now, I have the accent and everything.

"The new manager has just come in and he will want to get to know everyone, all of the player's strengths and weaknesses, and I think that will take a bit of time."