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Paulo Sergio <-auth richard wilson auth-> Craig Thomson
22 of 028 Ryan Stevenson 39 ;Andy Webster 69L SPL H

Manager defiant but poor record shouts more loudly

richard wilson

29 Aug 2011

Colin Calderwood's record as manager of Hibernian is beginning to look like an indictment.

The 2-0 defeat to Hearts was his 22nd loss in 38 games in charge, and the Easter Road side now sit bottom of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League. Yet he remains defiant, in his own detached manner. "Oh yes, I'm confident I'll get time," he said when asked if he has the backing of the Hibs board.

There was a resilience of sorts in the way that he described his team as "perfect", even if the view seemed baffling after a performance at Tynecastle in which his side offered little fight and eventually reverted to just fouling opponents. "We're done and ready to go," he said when asked about making any further signings. "I'm happy with what we've got."

The most recent arrivals, Richie Towell and Leigh Griffiths, who are both on loan, featured against Hearts, but there were few signs of optimism for Calderwood. Both goals were conceded after Hibs players made errors – Matt Thornhill being robbed of the ball, and Graham Stack not holding an Andrew Driver shot – and Calderwood was critical of his team's performance.

"The game got too long and we couldn't keep them in their half," he said. "We changed that by working better in certain areas. But the benefit is that the underlying talent of the group is way better than the results so far. I really liked the passion [of the players]."

\ The gaffer had a few harsh words to say. He picked a few out and told us it wasn't good enough. We know we are in a battle

Yet if Calderwood was reserved as he addressed the media afterwards, he was furious in the dressing room. Several players were singled out for their poor displays, and the characterisation of Calderwood as an aloof manager would not survive the revelation of his fierce mood immediately after the final whistle. Their league season is only five games old, but Hibs already look like a team that needs to regroup and find its spirit.

"The gaffer had a few harsh words to say after the match," said Ivan Sproule, the Hibs winger. "He picked a few out and told us it just wasn't good enough. If we keep on making mistakes, we'll keep on getting punished. We know we are in a battle. But everyone is in it together. We can't shy away from the fact we are bottom of the league and everyone is struggling a bit. We have to stand up and be counted."

For Paulo Sergio, the victory was about maintaining tradition. Hearts have not lost an Edinburgh derby match since May 2009, and this was the eighth straight game between the two old rivals that Hibs have ended without a win. Hearts were strong and resourceful, but the players also had to be physically durable as Jamie Hamill, on several occasions, and Marian Kello were the victims of some violent challenges. Yet the worst offenders, Akpo Sodje and Garry O'Connor, received only yellow cards.

"I don't want to criticise the referee," said the Hearts manager. "But maybe I have seen some dangerous tackles so I'm surprised it finished 11 against 11. But derbies are like that. They are a little bit emotional. I tried to make sure that my players didn't get too emotional, and they did a great job. We controlled the match from the beginning to the end. We played at our pace, with our rhythm."

Kello had to be replaced, after hurting his shoulder when Sodje clattered into him, but Sergio was uncertain about the full extent of the damage. He remained hopeful, though, that he might make further signings before the transfer window closes on Wednesday.

Taken from the Herald

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