Shaun Maloney said he was “convinced” he was on his way to delivering a Hibernian team the fans could be proud of as he expressed his disappointment at not been given more time.

Many of the Leith club’s fans applauded 10-man Hibs off the Hampden pitch after a 2-1 defeat by Hearts in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Saturday.

Maloney was sacked days later after only 19 matches in charge, with owner Ron Gordon going on to claim the team were headed in the wrong direction.

The 39-year-old had to deal with a lengthy injury list, with up to 11 players out at any one time, but Gordon claimed the board had been concerned about performances for two months.

In a statement, Maloney said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to be the manager of Hibernian, a club with such a proud and distinguished history.

“I am disappointed not to have had the time to move the club forward to a position where we could consistently challenge the top teams in the country for domestic honours and European football.

“It was my deepest desire to be able to deliver for the fans a team of which they could feel proud and inspired by.

“Even though the pain of our defeat last weekend remains raw, I was convinced all the more by the nature of the performance and the desire we showed even when reduced to 10 men that, given time, we would have achieved this.

“From day one, the players have been a real pleasure to work with and I am grateful for their enthusiasm and commitment to my coaching ideas.

“To the fans, I can only say that I wish I had been able to make you happier more often. I wish you and the team every success in the future.”

Maloney won six of his matches in charge, but a run of one cinch Premiership win in 2022 saw Hibs miss out on a top-six place.

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