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Mixu Paatelainen points to instability for Hibs’ poor record

Published on Friday 16 March 2012 00:00

FORMER Hibernian manager Mixu Paatelainen reckons dugout instability is behind the Easter Road club’s failure to win any of the previous nine Edinburgh derby matches against bitter rivals Hearts.

The current Finland national team boss masterminded Hibs’ last victory over their Gorgie counterparts when his makeshift side won at Tynecastle through Derek Riordan’s penalty in May 2009.

Since then, John Hughes and Colin Calderwood have been unable to replicate that feat on the four occasions they each experienced the capital showdown, while current incumbent Pat Fenlon tasted defeat on his maiden derby experience on 2 January.

Sunday’s clash between the sides provides Fenlon with another chance to repair Hibs’ recent poor record and Paatelainen hopes the Dubliner is given time to try to transform the team into the dominant capital force.

Paatelainen said: “It’s quite an amazing statistic that Hibs have not won in nearly three years. What can I say? There has not been stability in terms of managers recently, Hibs have changed their manager quite a few times. I don’t think that helps at all but, on the other hand, the players are the ones that do the job out on the pitch.

“When you make changes, you hope that change makes things better and you’re better off in the future. We all know how unfortunate Hibernian have been in the last few years that they have not qualified for the top six.

“That’s disappointing for such a fantastic club with a great support. Those changes have not worked as well as people anticipated. I am hoping the current managerial team at Hibernian will be given time and that they’ll be patient in terms of working with the players, getting them a style of play and making sure they are good enough to qualify for the top six while, at the same time, getting victories over their capital rivals. That is always very important, derby matches are big occasions in the calendar and it means a lot to the coaches, players and supporters.”

Hibs fans, whose side are currently second bottom of the SPL just four points ahead of Dunfermline, believe they are beginning to see signs of a recovery under Fenlon following the Irishman’s appointment in November.

If relegation is avoided, Paatelainen reckons Fenlon will stamp his mark on the team next term, adding: “I think the crucial period with Pat Fenlon and the whole backroom staff with the players is pre-season when you want to make sure everyone understands thoroughly what is the idea behind your play.”

Taken from the Scotsman

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