Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pitch battle

It seems if at least one of the sources of friction at Easter Road has been given a public airing.

A few weeks ago Derek Riordan said:
I said a wee while ago I felt the pitch could cost us points and I think it has. If you look at some of our chances in the St Johnstone game last Saturday, the ball was stuck under feet a couple of time because it is a bog.
Perhaps not the most diplomatic of answers for a footballer to give. But hardly an earth shattering breach of security. If you've seen a game at Easter Road recently you'll have seen for yourself that the pitch is not up to scratch.

Unsurprising too that it should be Riordan to speak out. A substandard pitch is likely to prove more detrimental to his style of play than, say, a player like Sol Bamba. It's also clear for all to see that Derek likes a moan. In most games this season he's chosen to adopt a demeanour that makes him look like a particularly peeved ned embarking on an long, half hearted search for his favourite baseball cap.

These excuses have not been enough for the bean counters. Riordan has been fined by the club and has now called in Fraser Wishart of the PFA to argue his case. If Wishart is unsuccessful then his next step might be to take the appeal to the SPL.

I fail to see what Hibs hope to achieve here. Clearly Rod Petrie shares more than just a preference for facial hair with Stalin: it now seems he's using Pravda as the model for Hibs' media policy.

Given the current plight of Hibs on the pitch - and John Hughes has been uncharacteristically terse on this issue - this seems like a cause for internal strife that could easily have been avoided.

Perhaps Riordan had been warned already to say nothing. It wouldn't surprise me if certain people at Easter Road had come to the conclusion that if nobody at Hibs mentioned the surface then nobody else would notice it.

On the other hand allowances should be made for the fact that Deeks is not the most accomplished of graduates from Hibs' school of media training. A severe bollocking would probably have done less damage than what has now become a protracted farce played out between the club and one of the few players who - even in this slump - can win matches.

But for all his undoubted acumen in guiding Hibs to solvency, Rod Petrie seems somewhat lacking in people skills. He'd not be great company on a long haul flight.

They might be from different sides of the tracks but Riordan and Petrie certainly possess unnatural levels of stubborness.

One of them will eventually have to blink. In the meantime I can't help feeling that it will be John Hughes and the Hibs fans who suffer.