Hibernian: Paul Heckingbottom eyeing improvement with 'brand new team'

Arbroath v Hibs
Heckingbottom, right, led Hibs to a 3-2 pre-season friendly defeat at Dick Campbell's Arbroath on Wednesday

Paul Heckingbottom says Hibernian "downed tools" towards the end of last season but is confident his summer rebuild will bring improvement under new owner Ronald Gordon.

United States-based businessman Gordon took control this week and wiped out the club's £3m debt.

Heckingbottom insists he feels no extra pressure to deliver success.

"We're on the same page in terms of what we want - continuous improvement," said the Hibs manager.

"It's an exciting time and with the new ownership we should be looking to build and get better.

"We've got rid of a lot of players and brought a few [six] in. It's a brand new team. It's like our first day stepping in the building again.

"It's really important we only have one loan player as it stands [goalkeeper Chris Maxwell], all these players are coming in with the backing of the club. We had too many loan players and too many players coming out of contract last season, so we couldn't talk long term."

Heckingbottom steered Hibs to fifth place after taking over in February. But he was angered by their finish which yielded a single point from the final four Scottish Premiership matches and has talked with Gordon about establishing high standards.

"We spoke about what my goals are for the season and that's what drives it," the Hibs boss added. "Set them high. Also, if I'm saying to players, 'Right, we need to do this' and we get to it, then everyone stops.

"I felt it last season. I hated the fact as soon as [qualifying for] Europe was looking hard and Hearts couldn't catch us, I felt like everyone at the club and the fans downed tools.

"They were thinking, 'Oh yeah, we've had a good season and come back strong.' We had four games left and I was pulling my hair out. I can't allow that to happen."

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