London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2001-02--> All for 20020202
<-Page <-Team Sat 02 Feb 2002 Dunfermline Athletic 1 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Craig Levein <-auth David Hardie auth-> Kenny Clark
[SM Thomson 54]
23 of 024 Stephane Adam 90 L SPL A

We were a disgrace, says John


JOHN O’NEIL today apologised to Hibs fans after their shock CIS Cup exit at the hands of First Divison Ayr United, the skipper admitting: "We were a disgrace."

And the midfield star went even further, conceding that if Hibs continue to play as they did at Hampden last night then the 11-point lead they currently enjoy over the SPL’s basement club, St Johnstone, might not be enough to save them from the ignominy of relegation.

O’Neil was clearly stunned as he spoke after Eddie Annand’s controversial penalty had sent Ayr into their first major final in 92 years, but other than question the award of the spot-kick he refused to make excuses.

Hibs boss Franck Sauzee laid into his flops after an abysmal performance, questioning their self-esteem and making it clear a number of his players could be heading for the exit door sooner rather than later.

O’Neil had no complaints at the savaging from Sauzee, agreeing it was now up to him and his team-mates to salvage what they can from a bitterly disappointing season.

He said: "Franck had some very harsh words to say and rightly so. I thought we were a disgrace, every one of us.

"I wouldn’t say Ayr outplayed us, but we were out-fought. They wanted it more than us and they bullied us from start to finish. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be pushed around like that by any side.

"We had a great opportunity to make another final and I’m guttted. I can only apologise to the Hibs fans, we have let them, Franck, Donald Park and the rest of the coaching staff down very badly."

O’Neil admitted he had been left feeling as low as he had ever been after a football match and revealed he believed that some players may now be fighting to save their careers with Hibs.

O’Neil, who returned after more than a month out with a knee injury, refused to make any excuses for his own poor performance even though he didn’t look match fit.

He said: "We have to pick ourselves up. The cups are gone and there might be the question of some people playing for their livelihoods.

"It is not for me to talk about careers being on the line - I could be one of them after that performance. I’m not making excuses about just coming back into the side, I thought I was ready.

"Credit to Ayr, they bombarded us with the long ball and outfought us. Now we have to pick ourselves up, get on with it and show a bit more desire."

O’Neil was adamant that rather than award a hotly-disputed penalty, referee Mike McCurry should have given Hibs a foul, claiming Ayr’s John Robertson had clearly handled the ball before being adjudged to have been brought down by Ian Murray.

He said: "He controlled the ball with his hand, I saw that quite clearly. Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t.

"The simple fact is that we are out and now our only priority is to win as many matches as we can."

Asked if he felt the 11 points which currently separate Hibs from his former club and the relegation spot were enough to guarantee safety, O’Neil said: "No, not on that performance.

"Everyone needs to have a long, hard think to himself about what why we are here and what we want to achieve.

"Expectations were so high this season after last year but it is not about certain players, it is every one of us. It is a team game. Last season we took all the plaudits - this season we have to take the criticism."

Taken from the Scotsman

<-Page <-Team Sat 02 Feb 2002 Dunfermline Athletic 1 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
| Home | Contact Us | Credits | © 2006 |