Top-line summary

  • Relief at Martin Boyle being able to go home after hospital visit
  • Wants refs to be full-time and reckons getting ex-players involved could help
  • Praise for Triantis 
  • Injury update on Miller and Vente

How is Martin Boyle doing?

“The most important thing is that Martin is well and recovering at home. It’s a little bit of a worry when you see someone go down and the medical staff come on; anything with the head or the neck, it’s always a big worry. He’s had the scans so just needs to recover from a concussion. I know there’s a protocol to be followed so we’ll just have to respect that.

“The scans were just testing there was no injury on the neck. Most importantly, he’s healthy – and now we’re just hoping he recovers as quickly as possible.

How was Nathan Moriah-Welsh in the dressing room last night?

“Yeah, he was disappointed. When you are as committed as Nathan, sometimes it’s that decision in the heat of the moment. There was maybe a little bit of frustration from the game, from previous decisions, and that’s something you can’t get emotional with.

“Whether it’s a sending-off or not, I can only give my opinion. To go and have a look at the VAR monitor, you can just double-check that you’re making the right decision, considering it was right next to where the incident happened, I thought that was the right thing to do.

“But it wasn’t to be. And Nathan accepts that he gave the referee a decision to make. He’s disappointed but he’ll learn from it."

Do you fear the art of tackling is being driven out of the game?

“Look, I think when you’ve played the game, you understand whether it’s intent to hurt somebody or whether it’s trying to block a cross, block a ball down the line, for example. It’s hard to see that in the heat of the moment. But there are tools there now for you to go and have a look, double check things.

“In general, it’s a physical league. It’s a league where there are a lot of challenges. It’s not easy, the speed of the game now is really quick. So I definitely feel for referees at times. Because the game is so quick, there is so much intensity, it’s not an easy job."

Would having former players involved help?

“Yeah, for sure. If you’ve played the game and you’ve been on the pitch, you have an understanding of the speed of the game and certain incidents. But it’s always going to be opinion based. People will have different opinions on stuff. It’s above my remit, what should be done.

“But you have a lot of commentators who are ex-players. They often have different opinions to what they see live. So it’s maybe something that can be looked at to help, moving forward.”

Do decisions even themselves out during the season?

"I think it's old wives' tales really! As a manager you tend to think, 'Surely you'll get some decisions go for you'. I don't think it evens itself out. I think it's something that you want to believe, like a fairytale, but it's definitely not a fairytale! 

"What we have to do is be better and score more goals and not have to rely on decisions. We've created a lot of chances lately to make situations a little bit easier, so all we can concentrate on is us and playing better, putting more chances away. Then hopefully we don't have to rely on decisions going for us.:

Was there as much talk about VAR/referees in Australia as there is here?

"Not really. I think maybe at the start there was a little bit of talk about it, obviously when a new system is put in place. But it's been going on for a while now. There are some real positives from it. You want the talking points to be about the game and the standard of the game, the good things, but it's easy to focus on the negatives.

"But I thought against Rangers we showed some real character and for large periods in that second half, we had a lot of opportunities to get back into the game and if anything, I'm more disappointed in that, that we didn't get back into the game in the period that we had a lot of momentum going. We have to score in those moments."

Were the referees in Australia full-time?

"I think half were full-time and half were part-time."

Would full-time referees be beneficial?

"For sure. For the referees, that's only fair as well - it's a big job. You've got games midweek, weekends, it's a physical job as well, for the referees getting around the pitch, it's not easy. It's only my opinion - everyone has their opinions - but for me the Scottish Premiership referees deserve to be full-time and deserve a full-time salary. It's not an easy job."

Nectar Triantis looked really comfortable in midfield. Is that his natural position?

"Look, he's really versatile. He can play centre-back, he can play six and if you are a deep-lying six, a defensive midfielder, it's a similar position. He's technically very good on the ball. He's still young and he's had success in his relatively short career. But he went six months, really, without playing after he moved to Sunderland, which is a big move for a young player.

"You could see against Rangers, especially in the second half, that he is a player who can really dictate play, and physically he is very good. I've been really happy with Nectar since he came in - and I know he can be better. But every game and every training session is an opportunity for him to improve."

Were you worried about his poor early start?

"Not really. I have full trust in Nectar. The first game he came in, Paul Hanlon fell sick that morning, so I had no option but to throw him in - we only had Will Fish as a centre-back. He came in and a couple of decisions probably went against him, but I know Nectar's character and that doesn't bother him.

"You can see now that coming into the team, in a game of that magnitude, I thought his performance was really strong. He's getting better every training session and every game and it's good you have players that are versatile - it definitely makes the squad stronger."

Nectar Triantis did well despite picking up a booking after six minutes…

“That’s something where it doesn’t matter your age, you don’t get caught up with the emotion and being on the yellow card early is always a risk for any player. He’s a smart kid, he’s honest, and he made sure of that after that incident.

“We were down to eight outfield players at the end and I took him off because I didn’t really want to risk him making a late tackle and losing him as well, so it was a tactical substitution because the boys were spent with energy. I think we played 25 minutes with nine men so it wasn’t easy.”

Have you been to Dingwall before?

“No, never… oh wait, sorry, I have. We travelled up there and the game was cancelled! We didn’t make it to the stadium. It’s a new experience but a nice little stadium and a good club. It’s always good to go to new stadiums and tick them off the list.”

What’s the situation with Dylan Vente and Lewis Miller?

“We lost Dylan the day before the game; just a training-ground incident where he rolled his ankle. We didn’t want to risk him or Lewis, who has been really consistent since he came back from the Asian Cup.

“Lewis had a tight muscle and the risk was that if he played on Sunday, we might miss him for six weeks, and what you can’t do is take risks. I thought Chris Cadden was outstanding to come back after such a long lay-off and perform the way he did.

“That’s not only a testament to Chris; it’s also a testament to the medical staff and everybody given he was coming back from a serious injury and his first start is against Rangers in a quarter-final.

“I had full trust in him and knew he’d come in and perform and his performance was befitting of his attitude and the work he’s put in off the field, in the gym, and during his rehab."

Is Dylan Vente likely to be out for a long time?

“I don’t think it’s a bad one but we’ll just have to see.  There was a bit of swelling, but it does seem to have gone down a bit today so it could be a week, could be two. We’ll just have to monitor it on a daily basis.

"He’s obviously doubtful for Wednesday but you never know. Sometimes it depends on the players’ pain threshold! But Dylan’s a good, honest lad and a tough kid so we’ll see.

Can Chris Cadden play two games in four days?

“Yeah, I’m sure he can but Lewis Miller is back in training as well, which is good. We don’t want to risk Chris as well so we’ll see how he recovers and make that decision on Wednesday.”

What does success look like for Hibs this season now you’re out the cup?

“I think success is the progress of making it to a semi-final and a quarter-final [in the cups]. I think that’s progress on last season. Now it’s about getting into the top six. That’s everyone’s aim now and it was the aim at the start of the season.

“That’s all we can focus on. Ask me at the end of the season and I’ll tell you, but right now, winning on Wednesday night is what I see as our next success.”