David Gray: Hibs is a great club but reality is we've underachieved

Nick Montgomery was sacked as head coach on Tuesday following another defeat.

David Gray: Hibs is a great club but reality is we’ve underachieved SNS Group

Hibernian interim boss David Gray has admitted that the results that led to Nick Montgomery’s sacking haven’t been good enough but is convinced that the club is set up for success.

Montgomery was relieved of his duties as head coach on Tuesday after just eight months in charge, with a failure to make the top six of the Premiership followed by back-to-back defeats against Ross County and Aberdeen.

Gray has been asked to take interim charge of the first team for the fourth time, having previously stepped up after the sackings of Jack Ross, Shaun Maloney and Lee Johnston in the last two-and-a-half years.

The former Hibs captain was disappointed to learn about Montgomery’s exit and said that it was “a horrible position” for everyone. Gray said he feels that while the manager is in the firing line after poor results, the wider group has to take a share of the blame.

“It’s never nice when anyone loses their job,” he said. “You form a bond with these people and it’s a horrible position to be in.

“Being the manager of the football club, I know that he’ll say he carries the responsibility, but as a collective we’ve not been good enough and we’re all very disappointed with that.”

With Hibs now beginning the search for a new manager for the sixth time in just over five years, Gray was asked about what had gone wrong at the club this season and he believes that a “great club” is simply not getting the results he believes they should be delivering.

“I don’t think it’s through a lack of effort, or people making decisions for the right or wrong reasons,” he explained. “I think everyone firmly believes that this is a great club in Scottish football, when you see the facilities and everything else.

“But that only counts for so much if you don’t find a winning formula on the pitch. I think that’s been the downfall.

“The reality of the football club is that we’ve underachieved this season and it’s bitterly disappointing for everyone involved.

“Nobody is shying away from the fact that it’s a collective and I think everyone needs to do better.

“We can’t just pin it on one thing (the manager). It’s a collective and this club needs to be higher up the table.”

While the interim manager will take charge for the remaining matches of the season, against Motherwell on Wednesday and at Livingston on Saturday, the club’s hierarchy will already be drawing up plans for their manager search.

Black Knight Football Club, owned by American billionaire and Bournemouth chairman Bill Foley, recently invested £6m when it bought a significant chunk of the Hibernian shareholding and are already assisting with a review of the football department. They are almost certain to have a hand in the recruitment of the new manager.

Gray said that questions about his own interest in the position were for another day but he doesn’t believe the club’s recent record for firing managers would put anyone off, or that the investment and Black Knight’s involvement behind the scenes should change the minimum demands from whoever is in the dugout on a permanent basis.

“I can only comment on how I find this football club and I think it is a fantastic club,” he said. “It’s a fantastic job for any manager that has a desire to be in the Scottish top flight.

“I’ve already touched on the facilities, it’s got a fantastic fan base and in infrastructure in place.

“Everybody is working hard to make sure we are successful and it’s about everyone pulling together to do that as quickly as we can.

“You can talk about the things going on in the background but I think that regardless of anything else, the football club needs to be achieving more than we are at the moment.

“The demand when you come and play for this club has to be minimum top six, challenging for cups and European football.

“That has to be the mindset. Everything is already here in place. If we can keep adding to it and improving it, then it’s a fantastic opportunity for anybody.”

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