Nick Montgomery puts 18 Hibs players on axe red alert as boss reveals merciless transfer plan

Hibs boss Nick Montgomery
Hibs boss Nick Montgomery -Credit:SNS Group

Hibs are prioritising experience over all else as Nick Montgomery revealed their summer transfer plans - which could see as many as EIGHTEEN players axed.

The Easter Road side currently have 18 players loaned out and their squad of players signed for next season is one of the biggest in the country. Among those returning for pre-season will be Dylan Tait (Falkirk), Dan MacKay (Livingston) and Nohan Kenneh (Shrewsbury), and many of them will be shown the door as the boss insists there is no room for passengers.

He also plans to pivot away from 'project players' in favour of building a team ready to win right away. He told the Edinburgh Evening News : “Look, the reality is people put a big expectation and pressure on Hibs. You need players who can cope with that pressure. Ultimately, that does reduce the number of players in your squad, players I feel are capable of playing for the first team and are able to consistently cope with the pressure you get at bigger clubs.

“When you walk in and see that, you hope that some players have been out on loan and have impressed enough that you can help them on their journey into professional football, whether it’s down south or starting in the lower leagues in Scotland. That’s something you can always be proud of, as a club. But it’s a challenge, as well, because the budget is the budget. Within that, reducing and having quality over quantity is something we’ve spoken about as a club. I think everybody now has the same understanding that it’s where the club needs to go.

“That’s nothing against decisions in the past, like having development players. But it doesn’t always work out. The club has an understanding that we need to bring quality in, so we have put out a starting team – plus a bench – all capable of competing week in, week out, and also coping with international windows, tournaments, injuries, the stuff you can’t control.

“There’s a lot of players contracted to the club who we have to find new homes for, which is not always easy. Some players out on loan have played, others have struggled for game time. They were signings made by previous managers for different reasons – some for development, some that haven’t worked out. It’s about looking at that situation and working internally to try and move some players on, and use those funds to bring in a couple of quality signings.

“We’re working really hard to identify possible targets, but every club’s main window is the summer, when you’re recruiting to put together a squad for pre-season. That’s when the season really does start, in pre-season. There are a lot of contracted players at the club, a lot of them out on loan. That forms part of the first team squad and budget. That’s obviously a cycle of the previous two managers – that’s what you inherit when you come into a club in this situation.

“We’ve got areas we need to fill as priorities before we start looking at the bigger squad picture. We need players who can start in games next season.

“We’re not talking a massive number of players. But we have to get it right – and we have to be patient. That’s one thing in the market, you have to be patient. If we make rash decisions now on signings, that comes out of the budget and leaves us short when it comes to bringing in real quality. We’re really conscious of that, because we have such a big squad under contract at the minute.

“There is interest in some of the players who have been out on loan. But some clubs will act quickly, some will be patient, some act straight away. We definitely have to make sure we get the right players.”