HIBS midfielder Stevie Mallan admits he and his team-mates “feel guilty” over the sacking of boss Paul Heckingbottom.

The Englishman was dismissed in the aftermath of the 5-2 Betfred League Cup semi-final drubbing from Celtic at the start of the month.

Heckingbottom had led the Easter Road outfit to just one win for 11 games in the Premiership before the axe fell and he was replaced last week by Jack Ross.

Mallan acknowledged the players were just as much to blame for the dismal run of results as the former Leeds United and Barnsley head coach,

The Edinburgh side’s middle-of-the-park grafter, speaking to the BBC, said: “Every player felt guilty and still does. A man lost his job and we were part of that – not just the manager.

“The manager can put out any tactics and any team, but, first and foremost, it’s up to the players to perform on the park and we were the ones who weren’t performing.

“You try your hardest, but, unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.”

GOING DOWN…Callum McGregor slots in a goal during Celtic’s 5-2 Hampden triumph over Hibs.

Eddie May, head of player development, took charge for the team’s 4-1 win over St Johnstone at Perth just six days before the appointment of ex-Alloa, St Mirren and Sunderland chief Ross.

Mallan was an 89th-minute substitute in Perth, having played for 90 minutes in every Premiership game under Heckingbottom this season.

He added: “We were working hard, it was just the results weren’t coming our way and we were just hoping for a game that just flipped it.

“The game that happened ended up being St Johnstone – when Eddie took over – so that makes you feel even worse.

“It was the same players, the same kind of team we put out under the previous manager. You just wish you’d done that for him, because if we did he might still be in the job.”

Ross will take charge for the first time tomorrow against Motherwell in Leith.



About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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