Hibs boss Nick Montgomery: Improving defence can help add points

The Hibernian manager says his young back line are learning.

Hibs boss Nick Montgomery: Improving defence can help add points SNS Group

Hibernian manager Nick Montgomery believes his side’s defensive record is improving and can help them continue to climb the table.

The Easter Road side have moved up to fifth in the Premiership table in the time since Montgomery was appointed as the club’s new boss in September.

A winless run through October and early November was followed by three wins in a row before a 4-1 defeat defeat at Celtic put the team’s goal difference back to a negative.

The former Central Coast Mariners boss believes the team has defended better than the numbers suggest, and says the games early in the campaign before his predecessor Lee Johnson was sacked mask the real picture.

“We’ve kept quite a lot of clean sheets,” he said. “I’m not responsible for the games at the start of the season so maybe if you chalked them off the stats would look a little bit different.

“The fact is, if you score more goals than the opposition then you win games of football so it’s great that we are there in terms of scoring goals.

“If you look over my time here, we’ve had times when we’ve been winning games but then conceded late goals. But lately we’ve had a couple of clean sheets as well, which tells me that we’re going in the right direction.”

The manager highlighted the relative inexperience of his back line as one reason behind the errors that lead to goals conceded. However, Montgomery sees the individuals developing and the team progressing during his time in charge.

“It’s a young team and they’re going to make mistakes,” he said. “Will Fish is 20 years old, Rory Whittaker is 16 years old, Rocky Bushiri has just turned 24.

“They’re learning all the time.

“We obviously have to be better defensively if we want to win more games but that’s something we’re working on on a weekly basis.”

The upcoming winter break, which comes after a busy schedule of five games in 23 days, could give an opportunity to work with the defence on the training ground but the manager would rather be in competitive action than “losing momentum”.

“I would prefer to just be playing on,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to get through this period and hopefully get some boys back as well in that January period so that come the start of February we’re looking strong going into that final run of the season.”

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