Under Pressure

06 March 2010 11:59
Hibs players appear to be folding under the pressure brought on by their manager's ambition for third place. Six weeks ago, Hibs manager John Hughes announced to the media that his target for the club was to finish in third place in the SPL this season. The results since then have not helped him or his side look likely to achieve that target. They did well initially, winning at Parkhead and beating St Mirren to promote the possibility that they could do better than third. However, today's game sees them welcome Kilmarnock, at 2pm, after taking just two points from their last five games and allowing Dundee United to sit just behind Celtic and Rangers in the league. Hughes, who never shirked a challenge,  admits he may have scared one or two of his players by demanding they finish best of the rest. However, he does not regret putting the target into the public domain. He said: "The reason I did that is because I feel that when standards are set at the club, you have to go and adapt and play to that standard. There's no hiding place. Knowing football and being in it and being in dressing rooms myself, you give football players an out and they'll take it. Me doing that, there's not an out there. Apart from one or two results, I've had a good response. It goes with a club the size of Hibs: we should be third, should be third, fourth, getting that European spot and getting to the latter stages of cup competitions." Players being scared were not alone and Hughes admits he may have overreacted to poor results in the past month by making too many changes in terms of formation and personnel. He said: "You maybe over-analyse it, you're maybe too critical of yourself and your team. I just sit back and say, 'When are we at our best? When we go and have a go at teams'. We've just chopped and changed it a little bit too much in terms of trying to keep a clean sheet and being harder to beat." With Easter Road undergoing a transformation with the replacement of the East Stand underway and the pitch coming in for criticism, Hughes is hoping the arrival of spring weather will spark an upturn in the fortunes of a club who have always been renowned for trying to pass the ball. He said: "We're coming into the spring and the sun's starting to come out and the pitches are going to get better and that'll suit us. The last time they took a stand down (in 2001), we finished third in the league and got to the Scottish Cup final, so maybe it's an omen." Editor Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)Admin Team (admin@scottishfitba net)This is Scottish-Fitba Net


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