Hibernian V Dundee Utd at Easter Road Stadium : Match Preview

16 August 2013 06:33
Hibernian V Dundee Utd - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Robertson sympathises with fans

Hibernian midfielder Scott Robertson says he can understand the angry reaction from fans to manager Pat Fenlon - because supporting the club in recent weeks has been an exercise in self-punishment.

Irish boss Fenlon has faced a backlash from supporters in the days since last Sunday's 1-0 Edinburgh derby defeat to administration-hit Hearts.

The defeat to the financially-stricken Jambos was the final straw for many fans after the Leith side lost their first three games of the season - including the mortifying 7-0 home reverse to Malmo in the Europa League qualifiers.

An on-line survey carried out by popular supporters forum Hibs.net illustrated the depth of feeling amongst the Easter Road faithful, with around 93 per cent of the near 600 respondents calling for a change of boss following that Tynecastle defeat.

But Roberson claims it is the players who must do more to improve results.

He told Press Association Sport: "We can obviously understand the fans' frustration because results have not been good enough. They turned out in great numbers for the European game and it ended up being more a punishment than a reward for them.

"But we've got to be patient. I know it's easy for me to sit here and ask for patience from the fans when they are paying money to come watch what they are watching sometimes, but we as players have just got to be as positive as we can and try to turn it around because it only us who can do it."

While the club's first two Scottish Premiership fixtures with Motherwell and Gary Locke's Gorgie men have been lost to single-goal defeats, it is the 9-0 aggregate defeat to Malmo that has really shaken confidence in Fenlon's leadership skills.

But Robertson insists the Edinburgh men could take on some of the world's top sides and never face another hiding like the one dispatched by the Swedes.

"The reaction has been a bit knee-jerk," he said. "It's only two games into the league season and, okay they have both been defeats, but we have not been outplayed or out fought.

"It has come down to fine margins and we haven't taken our chances while our opponents have. We need to learn to be more clinical because we have created chances. If we had taken them, we could be here talking about us going on a little run, rather than the results we've had."

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara has told his players to play without fear at Easter Road.

McNamara felt his side let themselves down in last weekend's 1-0 home defeat to Inverness by not being brave enough and paid the price as a result.

But the Taysiders have an opportunity to make amends when they head to the capital to take on Pat Fenlon's side with McNamara urging his team to try and express themselves.

He said: "It's a game which we should be looking to go and enjoy.

"We weren't brave enough in the Inverness game especially on the ball so I would like to see the opposite of that from the players this time round.

"We know when we get the ball down and pass it quickly we can be a match for anyone.

"So I would like to see us express ourselves and show that we can play a bit.

"We don't want to let it develop into a battle and have to play for second balls.

"That's not what we're all about.

"I know the group of players here can play and I've got confidence in them to do that."

McNamara knows Fenlon is under pressure after recent poor results but insists the Tannadice men will concentrate solely on their own agenda.

He said: "We will be focusing on what we do on the day.

"That's football and that's all we can do.

"Hibs have got some good players as we all know.

"They started the SPL season really well last season and got to the Scottish Cup Final in May.

"But it's up to us to go there and try to get a positive result. It would be nice to get the three points and make up for the disappointment of last weekend.

"We were all hurting because of that and this is the first opportunity to try and sort it out.

"I'm looking forward to it. It's always a good place to go and play football and hopefully that's what we do."

United defender Gavin Gunning is in line for a first-team return after recovering from knee surgery back in March.

Turkish forward Nadir Ciftic took a knock in training earlier this week but should be fit to face the Hibees, while Scotland Under-21 star Stuart Armstrong has returned unscathed from the heavy friendly defeat to England in midweek.

Source: PA

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