Hibernian V Ross County at Easter Road Stadium : Match Preview

14 February 2014 05:01
Hibernian V Ross County - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Nelson: It's good to talk

Hibernian defender Michael Nelson insists boss Terry Butcher's talking therapy sessions will help the Leith men return to winning ways, starting against Ross County on Saturday.

The Easter Road outfit suffered a shock William Hill Scottish Cup exit at the hands of Championship outfit Raith Rovers last week.

The Kirkcaldy side's victory was the fifth match in a row that Butcher's men have failed to win and they now face County knowing defeat will hit their Scottish Premiership top-six ambitions hard.

But Nelson claims Monday-morning sit downs implemented by the former England skipper after replacing ex-manager Pat Fenlon last November are helping to clear the air between the Hibs squad.

Defender Nelson - whose side trail sixth-placed St Johnstone by four points having played a game more - said: "We had a meeting on Monday, which we do after every game. We had a good talk about the Raith match then we put it to bed. We haven't spoke about it since. It's been all about beating Ross County since then.

"But it was good to have that chance to discuss the Raith game. If you are going to get a rollicking, it's generally at half-time or full-time on a Saturday.

"The Monday meeting comes after the weekend when you have had a chance to think about things and it gives you the chance to have a say on what you think we could improve on. It's usually a bit calmer.

"If you are screaming and shouting then you are not really thinking about what you are saying. But we sit down with a cup of tea and just have a chat.

"We're on a disappointing run right now and we don't want to let it go on for too long. But having these meetings is a good way to get our feelings all out in the open and then it's done before we even go out for training on a Monday."

Grant Murray's Rovers stunned the Edinburgh club with a 3-2 win in the capital. For Hibs, it was another missed chance at ending the club's 112-year wait to lift the Scottish Cup and Nelson admits not even a win against Derek Adams' side will rectify that slip up.

"You always hope that a win will lead to another and that a defeat triggers a reaction," he said. "But if we do get a win against County, it won't make up for last Saturday. We can't change the fact we're no longer in the cup."

Hibernian midfielder Scott Robertson will miss Saturday's clash and could be out for six weeks after sustaining a knee-ligament injury in last week's defeat to Raith, while banned skipper Liam Craig is also unavailable.

However, on-loan Arsenal defender Daniel Boateng could make his debut while Ryan McGivern returns from a hamstring injury, as does Paul Cairney after suspension kept him out of the Rovers loss.

Stuart Kettlewell returns from a three-match ban for Ross County but fellow midfielder Filip Kiss drops out through suspension.

Defender Steven Saunders has returned to training following a hamstring injury but is not ready to play while winger Melvin de Leeuw (knee) is out.

Midfielder Marc Klok remains available to Adams after rejecting a loan move to Peterhead.

Ross County forward Jordan Slew believes the long-standing players at the club deserve credit for the team's upturn in form and not just the newcomers.

County have lost just once in six matches since Slew joined on loan from Blackburn on New Year's Day.

The 21-year-old was one of six January signings who played in the 2-2 draw at Kilmarnock in their most recent Scottish Premiership outing but Slew feels the welcome from the established players has been the key.

"It's not all to do with just the six players who have come in, including myself," said Slew.

"The guys who have been here for a long time, like Richard Brittain, they have all made us feel really at home.

"That's why we have settled in so well, because they have looked after us really well.

"It has shown on the pitch. We have bonded together as a team, it looks like we have been together for years. That's all down to the older players looking after us."

Source: PA