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FANS ARE RIGHT TO WANT RID OF US ALL; PLAY-OFF NAILBITER ACCIES DEFY ODDS TO CLINCH TOP-FLIGHT SLOT Gutted skipper Craig admits Hibees were worse than embarrassing as they crash through relegation trapdoor.


HIBS skipper Liam Craig choked back tears last night as he described the torment of playing for a team he considers beyond embarrassing.

The 27-year-old midfielder refused to shirk responsibility for his side's relegation nightmare as he spoke against a backdrop of fan protest at Easter Road.

Pitiful Hibees lost a last-gasp goal as the tie moved into extra-time before spot-kick misses from Kevin Thomson and midweek goal hero Jason Cummings sealed their fate.

The midfielder walked upstairs after the game to address the media as around 600 supporters were heard below screaming for the head of manager Terry Butcher and chairman Rod Petrie amid angry scenes at the front door.

Craig was ashen-faced as he reflected on the worst moment of his career, just three years after his goal for St Johnstone had officially relegated yesterday's rivals Hamilton in their previous spell in the top flight of Scottish football.

Hibs failed to protect a 2-0 lead from the first leg and Craig said: "We didn't think the tie was over but we got what we deserved.

"That doesn't just apply today but over the course of the season, especially the last four months. We have had chance after chance after chance - and we blew every one of them. We've not been good enough.

"The first goal was always going to be important and from the first whistle they were on top and dominated the game.

"We have no one to blame but ourselves. I said after the Kilmarnock game recently the situation we were in was embarrassing. I don't know how to describe this to be honest.

"At the start of extra time I thought it was going to be difficult but that we would still create chances.

"Then, when it goes to penalties, anyone can win it. It should never have got to this point. It did and we still weren't good enough.

"This is the lowest point of my career, that goes without saying.

"I thought losing to Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup was going to be the lowest point because that hurt.

"If I am being totally honest I don't think this has sunk in yet.

"The fans have got every reason to want to get rid of the manager, the players, everyone. We have been an embarrassment.

"We are in during the morning for meetings about what lies ahead. Well, that was the plan anyway and I can't see that changing.

"If you are here next season then you will be very lucky. You must feel for boys such as Sammy Stanton, Alex Harris and Jason Cummings who are young boys and they have their futures in front of them.

"But as I said in the dressing room after the game, we have to live with this forever now. How do you get over that? It's going to be tough."

Craig praised Hamilton's will to win which shone through in 120 minutes and penalties and was in stark contrast to the feeble efforts of Hibs.

As the fan chants reached a crescendo outside, he confessed the only way to win them back is to prove they have the bottle to triumph in the championship next season, where capital rivals Hearts and fallen giants Rangers now lie in wait.

Craig added: "All credit to Hamilton, as poor as we were they deserved it.

"We weren't great the other night and that's why we knew the tie wasn't over. They were the better team in large spells that night as well.

"This has not sunk in yet but we can only blame ourselves. Two wins in 21 games played at any level of football is not good enough, that goes without saying.

"The fans deserve so much better and we all have to take a right good look at ourselves. We need to pick ourselves up and come again and the ones still here next year must go and win that league.

"Regardless of who is in it, that's all that matters. It's going to be difficult. It's about picking the boys back up from this season and getting those fans back onside."

Hibs boss Butcher also choked on his emotions as he described the worst moment in his distinguished career as a player and manager.

However, in between stressing his belief he is still the man to turn it around, he also found time to congratulate Accies counterpart Alex Neil for leading his team into the top flight.

Asked if he'd spoken to anyone from the board after the match, Butcher said: "No, I haven't had a chance. I've been in the tunnel congratulating Hamilton. They played really well.

"For some reason we sat off them.

We didn't get tight to them as we did on Wednesday and allowed them to play. I had a feeling things were not going our way when Danny Haynes twisted his ankle two minutes into the game.

"But I don't understand how we can just sit back and allow them to play.

"There are many causes to this, many reasons why - conceding goals too easily, not scoring goals, getting players sent off, conceding penalties. I can go through the whole lot.

"It's not just one game, it's the whole season and particularly the time I've been in charge."

TEL'S SPLITTING HEADACHE TERRY BUTCHER has won just six of his 29 games since taking over from Pat Fenlon at Hibs.

And here's the dismal run of post-split results that sent the Hibees down...

St Mirren 2 Hibs 0: Despite playing against 10 men for an hour, Hibs still crash to defeat.

Hibs 1 Hearts 2: Callum Paterson's derby double sees freefall continue.

Hibs 1 Partick 1: A late Sam Stanton leveller lifts the gloom.

Ross County 1 Hibs 0: Richard Brittain's penalty sends Hibs down to ninth spot.

Hibs 0 Kilmarnock 1: Kris Boyd condemns Butcher's side to a relegation play-off.

Hamilton 0 Hibs 2: A Jason Cummings double seems to have secured safety.

Hibs 0 Hamilton 2: Hibees hit rock bottom as Accies turn it around and win on penalties.


ULTIMATE DOWNER Craig, left, and his team-mates are gutted as Accies win shootout
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:5BERM
Date:May 26, 2014
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