Paul Hanlon insists Hibernian’s players are still behind Paul Heckingbottom

Hibs have won only one Ladbrokes Premiership game this season.

By Press Association Published: 31 October 2019 - 6.06pm

Sport

Football

Scotland

Paul Hanlon has stressed that all the Hibernian players are fully behind under-fire manager Paul Heckingbottom.

The Easter Road side have won just one Ladbrokes Premiership game from 11 this season amid growing disgruntlement from the stands.

The Hibs boss slammed his side’s dismal first-half showing against Livingston on Wednesday night where they fell two goals behind before fighting back to draw 2-2.

Heckingbottom revealed afterwards that he had lost his cool with his under-performing players at the interval which was greeted by boos from the home fans.

Hanlon, speaking at a Betfred Cup media conference at Hampden Park ahead of the semi-final against holders Celtic on Saturday, insisted that the players had “100 per cent” faith in Heckingbottom.

The 29-year-old defender said: “That’s not something that you want to hear being labelled against your team as a whole.

“It was something we looked to put right in the second half and something that we will be concentrating on this weekend.

“Individual mistakes or things have happened in games which have made the outcome not in our favour.

“Certain things in certain games have not gone our way. But I think there’s no doubt our effort and commitment and we showed that again during the week.

“If there was a team that wasn’t supporting the manager 100 per cent it would have been easy to lay down and just accept that result.

“But we are fully behind the manager, fully behind each other as a squad and working hard to try to put it right.”

Celtic have won the last nine trophies in Scotland but Hanlon, taking some confidence from the 1-1 draw against the Hoops at Easter Road in September, is looking to cause what would be a major upset.

He said: “We are under no illusions. We are going to have to be at our game for the whole 90 minutes.

“It is going to be a difficult task against a very good team. But we more than matched them at Easter Road and we have to do that again.

“To be honest, I don’t think we are thinking about Celtic’s dominance over the last few years. We have our own situation to look after.

“Obviously our league form has not been as good as we want it to be and this is a chance to put that aside for the weekend and try to concentrate on getting to a national cup final which is massive for the club, financially and for the feel-good factor.”