Maloney sends out warning to Hibs players as Celtic Park trip looms

By Euan Davidson

January 15, 2022

Shaun Maloney has reminded his Hibs players to keep their heads against Celtic on Monday, after a season dogged with ill-discipline.

The Hibees lead the Scottish Premiership for red cards, with 6 [WhoScored?]. With 35 yellow cards, too, it seems the frustration from bad form has caused issues for the Leith side.

With a Celtic Park crowd next up for Shaun Maloney and his Hibs team, the former Celtic attacker and youth coach has attempted to drill a message of calm. Hibs have Paul McGinn and Ryan Porteous missing through suspension, while Kevin Nisbet, Joe Newell and Jake Doyle-Hayes are all in danger of missing games through a series of bookings [Transfermarkt].

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Hardly an ideal scenario for the ex-Belgium assistant Maloney as he takes on his former team as a manager for the first time.

Maloney said [NewsChain]: “From my point of view, whatever discipline issues we’ve had – and there have been quite a few before I came – I think we have to get to a point where we raise the levels on that.

“I need as many of our players available for as many matches as possible.

“The squad now know that, and I think moving forward we have to be very aware of that. I spoke to them about it a few days ago. It was just a normal chat, really. In all games we have to look to have 11 players on the pitch as often as possible.”

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Shaun Maloney sends discipline message to Hibs players ahead of Celtic test

Celtic, for contrast, have only picked up 21 yellows, and one red in the league this season [WhoScored?]. Despite constant pressing and desire to win the ball back, the Hoops are surprisingly well-disciplined under Ange Postecoglou.

The only red we’ve had was Carl Starfelt’s against Ross County, one you could definitely file under: debatable.

For Hibernian though, who travel to face Celtic in the restarted Premier League on Monday, keeping cool will be an absolute prerogative. Considering what Shaun Maloney’s been up against in terms of suspensions, his start to life in Leith has been considerably impressive.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Celtic will look to exploit that, though. Not through gamesmanship, but by frustrating Hibernian with possession and creativity on the ball. Given Hibs’ poor discipline this season, riling the Edinburgh side up could pay dividends.

For Shaun Maloney, reiterating his point will be an absolute focus. But it’ll be an interesting night for the former Belgium coach. He’s likely to get a warm reception from the Hoops faithful, as he embarks on his first game in the opposition dugout at Celtic Park.

It should be an absolute cracker, with sub-plots aplenty. We cannot wait for Monday night.

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