Stand Up Tall, Look Sharp
Fighting talk from Hibs but it is fight on the park which is needed
Loanee James McPake does not want Hibs to give up the fight for SPL survival and is looking to his team-mates to stand tall when they face Killie on Saturday. McPake gave out a clear message as he said: "We need to defend for our lives, be strong, not give in and not concede silly goals like we have been doing." Hibs beat Killie 1-0 on 4 February to progress to the Scottish Cup quarter-finals and drew 0-0 with Aberdeen in the SPL the following week, However, since then they have leaked none goals in two games (losing 5-0 to Celtic and 4-3 at Motherwell). Hibs need to rediscover the art of defending at Rugby Park if they are to continue in the top-flight. McPake went on: "We didn't do ourselves justice against Celtic. Against Motherwell we gave a good account of ourselves, scored three goals, but it comes back to doing the simple things and defending. It's something we didn't do and something we haven't been doing all season - it has to change and quickly. We've got to be stronger, whatever happens. Against Kilmarnock we went a goal up and we held on. They put us under a lot of pressure, but we cleared everything and stood strong that day. Against Aberdeen again we were good. We've got to be mentally stronger, as individuals and as a team. If we do lose a goal, we shouldn't crumble the way we do." Two successive clean sheets at the beginning of the month suggested a brighter future after manager Pat Fenlon spent a busy January transfer window on the phone recruiting new faces for the fight. However, Hibs remain level on points with Dunfermline at the foot of the table. McPake, who joined on loan from Coventry in January, said: "We've got to get ourselves out of it. We've got the players to do it - I don't doubt that - and we have got the fight. We needed to start turning it around weeks ago, but now more than ever we need to start picking points up. We need to stick together and be solid as a unit. We still feel if we can get a couple of results quickly we can drag other people into it. First and foremost we've got to forget about anything else, start doing the basics and doing whatever we need to do to win football matches." McPake is one of eight loan players currently at Hibs, but is happy to be captain, having performed the role at Livingston and Coventry. He dismissed suggestions the loan players will not be committed to the cause. He said: "If we head back down south having had a terrible four or five months, what are our parent clubs going to think? It's added pressure for the loan players to come up and perform. We want to impress people up here. Every one of the loan players are Hibs players just now. I'm a Hibs player at the moment and nothing else really matters."
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