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Hibs ‘lost in the dark’ as another manager search begins

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There were many moments that made you wince in Nick Montgomery’s months as manager of Hibs, not least his pre-match declaration on Sunday that his team were currently sitting third in the table for expected goals.

A 4-0 home defeat by Aberdeen and from xG to P45. Following on from Jack Ross, Shaun Maloney and Lee Johnson, Montgomery is the fourth Hibs manager to lose his job in the past two and a half years.

He lasted just short of 250 days. Fewer days than Johnson but more than Maloney, who was in post about 15 minutes, or thereabouts.

Montgomery, Johnson and Maloney had a league points-per-game return of 1.3, 1.3 and 1.26, which shows how Hibs have been running to stand still.

Ross, by comparison, was a relative Easter Road institution. He had a return of 1.7 and was in the job for just over 750 days. That can be classified as an era in Hibs’ terms of late.

David Gray is now in his fourth spell as interim manager – 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Before him, Eddie May did two interim spells in 2019, between the reigns of Neil Lennon and Paul Heckingbottom and then between Heckingbottom and Ross. Six separate interim management spells since January 2019.

A word on Montgomery. The biggest job he had to do was fix Hibs’ defence and he could not do it. He did not sign a significant defender and did not improve the ones he had.

He never came up with a way to camouflage the frailties at the core of this team and could not bring a halt to a ruinous habit of conceding late goals that so often turned three points into one and one point into zero.

Ten times that happened in the league. Hibs blew a 2-0 lead twice and only got a draw both times. They were 2-1 ahead in the 90th minute against St Mirren and Ross County and drew both of those, too. In seven games they conceded seven goals from the 88th minute and that weakness cost them 11 points.

Ten of the 11 were in pre-split games. Stick another 10 points on Hibs’ tally now and they are comfortably top six and pushing for Europe.

Montgomery’s claim about the xG table was the kind of thing beaten managers come out with, a desperate attempt to build a case when there really was not any case to build.

You hear it said that Hibs cannot keep on firing managers and it is absolutely true, they cannot. The problem is they cannot stop hiring managers that perform so poorly in the job that there is no alternative but to fire them.

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