Top line summary:

  • Boyle and Miller available for selection; Hanlon likely out and Cadden not ready to start
  • Praise for Moriah-Welsh who could start against Celtic
  • Says Triantis will bounce back from tough debut and be ready for Celtic
  • Admits St Mirren debrief was 'more shouting than talking'

How are Martin Boyle and Lewis Miller getting on?

“Physically they’re both good. We get the data from the national team and they’ve been training not too differently to how we train here. Lewis’ game time was limited, he had a little bit of sickness which is why he missed the game before the quarter-final. Boyley’s numbers are good and he has recovered. He always looks after himself and they’ve both come back in good condition."

Could Lewis start against Celtic?

“We have missed Lewis, his height and power. We conceded goals in that back-post area against Kilmarnock where if Lewis is playing I know we don’t concede them. 

“You’re going to miss your first-choice players. Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of starting players missing over the last six weeks. You can’t control that, you want players in international teams. It’s good for the club and good for their value, but it also hurts you.

“When these tournaments come mid-season it’s a challenge but it’s an opportunity for others to come in and we’ve had a lot of young players debut which is only going to be good for the club moving forward and their experience."

What’s your message been to the players after Saturday?

"That it can’t happen again. It was a performance I didn’t expect and I don’t think anyone expected. There was a lot of optimism with the new players coming in. But when you try and put your finger on why then there was a lot of change, a lot of players coming in and out, change is good but it’s also hard at first.

“Now it’s a case of gelling the boys together and integrating them into the way we play, the principles we have and understanding the club. It was a real flat performance. 

“We owned it, I owned it. The boys weren’t happy with it. By half-time it was too late. In the second half, we had two or three good opportunities to score but it was a bit of an uphill task because of the goals we gave away.”

There was plenty of criticism about a lack of fight and desire...

“As a footballer you accept it. You’re in a position where fans pay their money to watch and the minimum requirement is that you put the effort in and show a bit more desire than we did. It’s a criticism; constructive feedback that the boys accepted at half-time, after the game and when we reviewed it back.

“We spoke about it and I think most teams go through a flat performance like that at some point in the season. What you can’t do is dwell on it. You have to move forward. It’s up to me to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“All three goals we conceded were avoidable, set pieces, second phases, that’s something we spoke about and it can’t happen again. We can’t chase games and give goals away like that. The second half performance was a lot better but it was too late.”

Who was doing most of the talking in the debrief?

“I wouldn’t say it was talking, I’d probably say a little bit more shouting. I’m a passionate guy, I wear my heart on my sleeve and if anyone knew me as a player or manager then I’m a competitor. The number one thing in this league is you have to compete. It’s a physical league and you have to compete first and foremost. Yes, we have quality players but if you don’t match the opposition for fight and you give poor goals away it’s going to be difficult. It’s a learning curve for the new boys coming in and those who have been here a while as well. They need time to gel. Change is good, we needed change. But it’s also hard, it’s not easy to expect instant results. I know that’s what supporters expect and I understand their frustration with that result but right now if I look at the situation since the international window, we’re through to the next round of the cup, had a good draw with Kilmarnock, lost to Rangers but we had five good goalscoring chances, they had five, they scored three and we didn’t score any. Not only defending, we need to start punishing teams when we get chances."

Is there a temptation to make wholesale changes or is that the worst thing you could do?

“There might be one or two changes that are enforced but I’ve said it loads of times: when you take three, four, five starting players out of the team, what you want is them back fit and available.

“Lewis Miller and Martin Boyle are in contention to start the game because they came back a couple of days ago and they’ve had a little bit of time to recover and they’re desperate to get back out there and put the Hibs shirt on but it also gives us some good competition for places off the bench and that’s something that we really lacked up until the last week.”

How close are Nathan Moriah-Welsh and Luke Amos to starting?

“I thought Nathan was outstanding when he came on at the weekend. I had thought about starting him but when you’re only in training for a couple of days, it’s a big ask to start somebody but he’s a kid who has infection energy. I thought when he came on in the second half he helped us dominate in the second half but what we didn’t do was score any goals. Nathan is definitely in contention to start against Celtic.

“Luke had been injured for a few months when I brought him in; he’d played a lot of games in the Championship for QPR but we knew it would be a four-to-six week plan to get him back fit.  We don’t want to rush him and we’re just a couple of weeks into that, but we’re trying to give him minutes in games where we can and his training load in the week is improving too. I think he’s going to be a very good player for Hibs but needs a little bit of time to get himself match-fit because of that long lay-off.”

Is Owen Bevan still a bit away?

“Owen is still a few weeks away; we’ll keep in touch with Bournemouth on that one but hopefully he’ll come back and add competition for places. He’s coming back from a muscle injury so we’ll just have to monitor that situation. He’s not available right now but in future hopefully he’ll be available at some point this season.” 

How has Nectar Triantis been after a baptism of fire, of sorts?

“Nectar is a great kid; he shows good resilience and the fact is, he wouldn’t have started but Paul Hanlon felt sick, which he did against Ranger, and I had to make changes. Unfortunately for Paul, he has an illness that keeps coming and going at the minute.

“It wasn’t ideal to bring a kid up the day before and start him in his first game but Nectar’s good, he’s had a couple of days of training. He’ll bounce back, and be ready for Celtic.”

What was your take on the accounts?

“I came in, the budget was the budget, and my thing in the window was that if I moved players out I could bring players in, so I worked within the parameters of that.

“I’m not aware of the financials or anything else.”