Hibernian defender Jason Naismith has called on his side to cut out their mental slackness ahead of tomorrow’s Premiership visit of Aberdeen.
Hibs have dropped numerous points by squandering winning positions, with the latest coming in Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat to Naismith’s former club Ross County.
Although the Edinburgh side have enjoyed a revival under new manager Jack Ross which has seen them rise to sixth in the Premiership, right back Naismith feels the recurring inability to close out games has prevented them challenging even further up the table.
Naismith said: “It doesn’t feel like a habit – it’s a frustration more than anything because we don’t want it to happen. We’ve been conceding soft goals so it’s something we need to look at. It’s clear to see that we need to toughen up mentally to see these games out. Nobody can argue with that.
“We can back each other up all we like but it’s clear as day, from the positions we’ve got ourselves into and the number of points we’ve let slip, that we’ve not been mentally good enough. The mentality has to change and it has to change quickly.
“As players, we need to realise how lucky we are to have this opportunity to play for Hibs and get a steeliness about ourselves. We’re going ahead in games and we’re probably thinking it’s won, but it’s obviously not won, as we’ve seen on far too many occasions. We need to get that out of our game.”
Hibs host the Dons this weekend, having also relinquished the lead when they last faced Derek McInnes’ men in a 1-1 draw in October.
Naismith is full of admiration for the Pittodrie side, adding: “Aberdeen were the second best team in Scotland for a while until last year. They’re obviously one of the top teams in the league and Derek McInnes will have them fired up coming to Easter Road.
“We need to analyse what happened on Wednesday and then put it behind us because it was our first defeat in ten league games.
“We need to move on and try and get back on a winning run. There’s always pressure playing with Hibs.”
Naismith joined Hibs on loan from Peterborough United in the summer, only 12 months on from leaving the Staggies for the English League One club, with the 25-year-old pleased with the way his move has worked out.
He added: “I love playing with Hibs. It’s obviously a massive club and every day’s a joy going in. I’m back to enjoying my football again. It’s an honour to be here.”