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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 22:26 GMT
Collins defends Hibernian record
John Collins
Collins brought in sweeping changes to Hibernian
Former Hibernian manager John Collins has defended his time at Easter Road, and says he found it difficult to bring new players to the club.

"I looked at signing several leading Scottish players, but they were out of our wage structure," he told BBC Sport.

"I would have loved to have signed Steven Naismith, Barry Robson, Alan Gow and Jamie Smith, all of whom I admired, but it wasn't as easy as people think.

"We did bring in 8.8m in sales though, which we could never have predicted."

Collins replaced Tony Mowbray in October 2006 in what was seen as an ambitious move by the Hibs board.

And, after a successful season with the Edinburgh club, securing the CIS Cup - Hibs' first trophy since 1991/92 - the Scot was expected to remain to oversee a bright era at Easter Road.

"We were eighth in the SPL when I took over and I felt some of the players needed improving," Collins, who resigned in December, explained.

"One of the things that concerned me when I arrived were the disciplinary problems in the team with too many yellow and red cards, so I had to put a stop to that.

"Obviously criticism comes with the job too, but I felt some of it was simply designed to stir up trouble.

"Overall, it was an exciting time at Hibs for me, with a lot of highs and lows, especially the cup win."

The 39-year-old also spoke of his frustration at the sale of top players such as Scott Brown, Kevin Thomson and Steven Whittaker.

"Within two weeks of my arrival, two of my best players (Brown and Thomson) told me they had got themselves a new agent, Willie McKay," he told BBC Scotland's Sportsound programme.

"You don't get long-term success if you sell your best players, but the offers were too good to turn down.

"However it would have been nice to have had more money for reinvestment, but that's football."

Collins, viewed in some quarters as a hardline manager, explained the reasons for his meticulous preparations during his time at the club.

Collins savours victory over Edinburgh rivals Hearts in August 2007
Collins savours victory over Edinburgh rivals Hearts

"I felt as a footballer there was nothing better than watching yourself scoring goals.

"That's something I wanted to emphasise to the players, the fine details and preparations make the difference between winning and losing.

"We had good players sprinkled throughout the team but I made changes I felt the team needed."

Hibernian's players hit the headlines last season when they visited the club chairman, Rod Petrie to complain about Collins' methods.

And Collins admitted his shock at the development.

"I was absolutely shocked - I was out of the country at the time but as you can imagine I was very disappointed.

"When any new manager comes in they have to make tough decisions - I am a professional and I like things to be done properly," said the former Scotland international midfielder.

"I brought in Sunday training sessions and post-training stretching, for example, and a lot of the players didn't like that.

"The majority of the players came and apologised to me later when they realised they were wrong."

Collins, who surprisingly departed Hibs the day after the opening of a new 4.9m training centre, revealed the reasons behind his sudden departure.

"The board met the day after the opening of the training centre and I wasn't satisfied with answers to the questions I had.

"For instance, David Murphy, who was an outstanding player for Hibs, was desperate to move - I wanted him to stay until the end of the season, but he wanted to go.

"I wanted key players on better contracts like Steven Fletcher, and I told the chairman he deserved it, but the board stalled and that unsettled the player for a few weeks.

"He subsequently lost form and I didn't think the negative publicity was worth the sake of a few hundred pounds."

Collins has been linked with a variety of posts, including the vacant Scotland job since leaving the Hibees, but is currently assessing his future in the game.

"I think it's unlikely I'll work again in Scotland but you never say never in football.

"My preferred option would be to work in England but you can't make any assumptions - if something interesting comes up then I would consider it."



SEE ALSO
Bleak mid-winter for Hibs
20 Dec 07 |  Hibernian
Collins resigns as Hibs manager
20 Dec 07 |  Hibernian


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