Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom has admitted that his players were “champing at the bit” to face Newcastle’s big names in their friendly over the weekend – and admits his side got something different than their Betfred Cup games so far.

The Easter Road side lost 3-1 to Newcastle but Heckingbottom insists that he wanted to “expose” his men to “top-quality players.”

23rd July 2019, The Easter Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland; Hibernian The Scottish League Cup; Hibernian versus Arbroath; Paul Heckingbottom Hibernian Manager returns the loose ball for a throw-in
(photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The Hibs boss also revealed that his players were desperate to play against “£40million, £50million” players.

“We wanted to make it an open game, just for the spectacle of us watching it and to expose ourselves one-on-one against top-quality players. We wanted to make the game really stretched, to have recovery runs, last-ditch tackles and to be busting a gut to counter them,” Heckingbottom said, as quoted by the Evening News.

“From that aspect, we got something out of it that we have not been able to do in our friendlies and League Cup games so far because we have been on top.

“The players were looking forward to it. That’s one of the reasons why we took the game, it was good for the fans, the players were champing at the bit to play against £40 million, £50 million players.”

21st April 2019, Easter Road, Edinburgh, Scotland; Ladbrokes Premiership football, Hibernian versus Celtic; Paul Heckingbottom Hibernian Manager
(Photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Hibs welcome St. Mirren to Easter Road on Saturday in their league opener and will be keen to get off to a strong start.

The Hibees have impressed since Heckingbottom took the reins earlier this year and, now he’s had a chance to bring his own players in, they should be looking to challenge for a European place.

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