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Hibs manager John Hughes admits to wrong team selection

Hibs manager John Hughes issues instructions at McDiarmid Park
Hughes was worried before the game about St Johnstone's physical presence

Hibernian manager John Hughes admitted after the 5-1 mauling in Perth that he chose the wrong players to contend with a more physical St Johnstone side.

"I think I picked the wrong team," said Hughes, who was sent to the stand for comments he made to the linesman.

"We were contemplating playing five at the back coming up here.

"Their physical presence won them the match - two centre-halves in midfield and two strikers up front. We couldn't match that and they played off it."

Hughes said he had let himself down by being sent from the dug-out, but questioned how much the defeat would pain his players.

He said: "My boys have been fantastic, but I can't give them an excuse for that tonight. You are wearing that Hibs jersey and you have to have a real pride in it, and that wasn't on show.

"I wonder at times, in that dressing room, if it hurts them enough. I hope it does.

Someone can come in and put the icing on it, but you have to bake the cake first

Hibs manager John Hughes on football's essentials

"I'm not going to try to patronise the Hibs supporters. We didn't play with the passion and the spirit that should run with playing in a Hibs strip."

The Easter Road side are in third place in the league but have missed the chance to put pressure on second-placed Celtic and distance themselves from Dundee United in fourth spot.

They have been praised at times this season for their open, attacking football, but Hughes' repeated warnings that his players must first stamp their authority on a match before turning on the style went unheeded in the drubbing by St Johnstone.

He added: "We're a good football side, but I keep saying to the players that, fundamentally, you have to make sure you earn the right to go and play football.

"Someone can come in and put the icing on it, but you have to bake the cake first.

"It was the same system for both teams, 4-4-2, and we came out second best.

"I've worked with the guys for seven months now. I know the character but I knew the physical presence might be a problem and it turned out like that.

"No qualms about it. It was one-way traffic."

Hibs will attempt to get back on winning ways when they travel to Motherwell on Saturday.

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see also
St Johnstone 5-1 Hibernian
17 Feb 10 |  Scottish Premier

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