Whittaker believes Hibernian win will silence jeering fans

Paul Heckingbottom’s side were booed during the 1-1 draw with St Johnstone.

By Press Association Published: 30 August 2019 - 10.44am
Football

Scotland

Hibernian

Steven Whittaker believes a Fir Park win for Hibernian will soon turn the Leith faithful’s jeers to cheers.

Boss Paul Heckingbottom was left frustrated by his own supporters last week as they booed his decision to take off playmaker Scott Allan with just an hour played of their clash with St Johnstone.

And he pinned the blame for his side’s late lapse that allowed Tommy Wright’s team to snatch a 1-1 draw on the anxiety produced by the groans from the Easter Road stands.

But Whittaker reckons it is down to the Hibs players to put the fans in a better frame of mind when they travel to Motherwell on Saturday.

Asked if he was surprised by the reaction Allan’s substitution received, he said at a press conference broadcast on HibsTV: “Yeah a little bit. I think at that point we were winning the game 1-0 so for that to happen it was a little bit strange.

“But it’s down to us as players. We’re the ones on the pitch who can impact the game and it was down to us to see the job out.

“(The fans’ unhappiness) is part and parcel of football. If you’re not playing well or as well as you’re expected to do then you’re going to come under some scrutiny.

“Again it’s down to us as a team, as management and staff, as a club to stick together.

“I’m sure if we can get three points on Saturday it will all be forgotten about and we can get on with our work.”

Hibs finished fourth in their first season back in the top flight in 2018 but dropped back to fifth after Heckingbottom took over from Neil Lennon midway through last term.

But Whittaker admits the demands placed on the squad are not likely to reduce any time soon.

The former Rangers and Scotland full-back said: “Expectations are probably higher now for us. We’re a massive club in this league.

“If we fall short of where we’re expected to be then there’s definitely going to be some negativity.

“It’s down to us to perform in the right manner and stick up around the top end of the league.”