Livingston midfielder and former Hibs man Marvin Bartley has explained why he thinks Paul Heckingbottom let him leave Easter Road this summer.
Bartley departed Leith a legend, having helped the side out of the Championship, lifting the Scottish Cup in the process.
His departure was a sad one for many Hibees, but some felt it may have been the right time. The defensive midfielder only played 13 Premiership matches last term.
Now the Livi battler has said a change in the style of play effectively ended his and former teammate Mark Milligan’s Hibs careers.
He told BBC Sportsound: “Me and Mark (Milligan) were probably better when Hibs didn’t have the ball.
“If you’re then thinking that you’re going to be a team that’s going to have a lot of possession like Celtic or Rangers, then you’re probably thinking to yourself, ‘Well, maybe we don’t need a holding midfielder as such, maybe we could have almost like a deep lying playmaker’.
“What Hibs are now finding difficult is that they’re not have a lot of the ball, they’re being countered a lot. They don’t have anyone within that role to stop these counters.”
Hibs could be doing with Bartley
Hibs’ loss is Livi’s gain, as Bartley has been excellent for his new side. They only recently lost their first game of the season in a spirited 3-1 defeat to Rangers.
Bartley is needed at Easter Road. One of Heckingbottom’s big mistakes this summer was letting the Scottish Cup winner go, as he hasn’t got anyone like him now.
Heckingbottom is trying to shoehorn Stevie Mallan and Josh Vela into that role, but it isn’t working.
Because they haven’t got a no-nonsense CDM like Bartley, their defence is exposed to constant pressure.
They’ve conceded 16 in five games. The defence is struggling without an enforcer in front of them, making the decision to release the likes of Bartley and Milligan more puzzling.