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59 of 060 Christian Nade 38 ;Gary Glen 92 SC A

Paatelainen the poet faces difficult task

Graham Spiers

I've always maintained it has been impossible to do anything but like Mixu Paatelainen. Those supporters of clubs as various as Dundee United, Aberdeen, Bolton Wanderers, Wolves, Hibernian and others might agree with me: the sight of this top-heavy Finnish honey monster lumbering amid opposition defences in the 1990s was always one to savour (even though, while at Aberdeen, Mixu went through one of his slim periods).

Now, in the past 48 hours, we've had Mixu the poet to contend with. The Hibs manager has been lyrical in the post-Edinburgh derby period, a game Hibs lost 2-0 to Heart of Midlothian in abject circumstances. Claiming that Christophe Berra, the Hearts captain, "leapt like a brown trout" to get Steven Fletcher sent off, was one thing. Paatelainen then followed that up by calling referee Craig Thomson's decision to red-card Fletcher "a bloody joke".

As amiable and affable as Paatelainen is, I fear his eyesight is not as sharp as his polemic. At Easter Road on Sunday, Fletcher, having lost the ball, lunged aggressively and dangerously at Berra to try to get it back, for which a yellow card was the very minimum the Hibs striker deserved - with a red card a distinct possibility. For Paatelainen to look at this on tape later and talk of the referee being duped by brown-trout acts, and calling it "a bloody joke", was not the conduct of balanced observer.

Paatelainen, however, puts his heart and soul into Hibs. He is also thoughtful about football, deploying varying tactics for different matches, and is thoroughly expressive and vocal in English - as has been plain - for a Scandinavian. Paatelainen's team are hardly cruising just now, but they occupy the stodgy midriff of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, which at least keeps baying supporters at arm's length.
In Edinburgh, though, you cannot be defeated by your city rivals without suffering for it later.

Prior to Sunday, Paatelainen had said that Hibs had "a huge advantage" in drawing Hearts at home in the Homecoming Scottish Cup, but, that being the case, they blew that advantage spectacularly. Hibs were abysmal in the second 45 minutes, hardly creating a decent, solitary chance.

Like a ghost of glories past, Pat Stanton suddenly appeared in the Hibs press room later, quietly and unobtrusively taking up a position in the corner of the room while Paatelainen was speaking about the 2-0 defeat. The very sight of Stanton, a majestic Hibs player of the 1970s, encapsulated Paatelainen's problem. He is charged with restoring some glory to a club with one of the most distinguished pedigrees in Scotland.

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