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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2004, 22:29 GMT 23:29 UK
Few Hibees will mourn Williamson
By Colin Moffat

There won't be many tears shed in the Easter Road area following the departure of Bobby Williamson.

The 42-year-old Glaswegian has accepted the manager's post at Plymouth Argyle after 25 months at the Hibernian helm.

Although Williamson was successful at Kilmarnock, where he won the Scottish Cup in his first season and took a provincial side into the Uefa Cup on three occasions, his time at Hibs has been undistinguished.

In his two full seasons, Hibs failed to make the top six in one of the weakest leagues in Europe.

And his cantankerous style not only made life hell for post-match interviewers - it did little to endear him to supporters.

Hibs fans are perhaps worse than most when it comes to getting on the backs of their team.

A glittering hall of fame and a tradition of free-flowing attacking football has made their followers quick to criticise when things are not going well.

Williamson did not respond well to the barracking of the crowd and at times let his temper get the better of him in public - getting caught up in heated exchanges with spectators.

He will argue that he shared the fans' frustration and it was his passion to succeed that saw him lose his temper.

Much has been made of Williamson's Rangers background as a player and his decision to remain housed on the west coast.

But Alex Miller had a far longer conection with the Ibrox club and was manager at Easter Road for more than 10 years.

Miller was also a dour character but he put out teams that won more games than they lost.

Put simply, Hibs fans never warmed to Williamson and his prickly nature made sure there was never a thaw in relations.

Good results would have done the job. They never materialised.

With Hibs struggling financially, Williamson was immediately forced to drastically prune his playing squad.

Hibs lost out in the CIS Insurance Cup final
Big-earners like David Zitelli, Francisco Luna and John O'Neil were off-loaded, while Nick Colgan and Paul Fenwick were frozen out in a failed bid to move them on.

Approximately 3m was raised from the sales of Ulrik Laursen and Ulises de la Cruz but Williamson saw little of it.

But the few signings he did make last summer failed to make much impact.

Colin Murdock and Roland Edge have been shaky in defence, Stephen Glass' injury woes continue to dog him, while Stephen Dobbie and Morten Hyldegard spent long spells on the bench, before the Danish keeper eventually moved to Luton.

Hibs' small squad was stretched to its limits by long-term injuries to Ian Murray, Grant Brebner, Glass and Yannick Zambernardi.

And Williamson's relationship with the Easter Road directors was put to the test when he was forced to renegotiate the lucrative five-year deal he signed in favour of a reduced salary and a one-year rolling contract.

Times are hard but it was a public loss of face for the manager.

The same board appeared only too willing to allow Williamson to hold talks with Plymouth.

A youthful Hibs team upset the odds by dumping both Celtic and Rangers out the of the CIS Insurance Cup but 37,000 fans were left disappointed at Hampden when Livingston lifted the trophy.

The huge number of supporters that made the journey to Glasgow suggests that Hibs still have the pulling power to be a big player in Scottish football.

But the truth is Hibs have not been challenging regularly for silverware since the early to mid 1970s when Eddie Turnbull's wonderful team locked horns with Jock Stein's Celtic, albeit finishing second more often than not.

Hibs supporters have every right to demand better than what they've seen in recent times and they would gladly see a monster (or even an ex-Jambo?) in charge if things are going well on the pitch.

But the next Hibs boss may need a thick skin to contend with a support perhaps guilty of unrealistic expectations.






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