Marshall is convinced that a quiet summer will ensure that Hibs can take off

With Lee Johnson newly appointed around this time last year, Easter Road’s side were eliminated from the League Cup in the group stage before the start of the Premiership season was uncertain.

The capital side beat St Johnstone on Matchday 1 but went without a win in the next four league games.

Four straight wins were followed by a nightmare period in which they lost nine of their next 11 games, putting Johnson under massive pressure.

He survived and took Hibs to fifth place and after Aberdeen benefited from a late advantage to secure third place they were just two points off rivals Hearts, who finished fourth.

Marshall, one of 15 signings 12 months ago in a period of upheaval, admits the massive changes hampered Hibs in the first half of the season.

But with fewer back-and-forths expected this summer and there are already four new signings, the former Scotland and Celtic goalkeeper believes the Leith side will be better prepared as they prepare for their Europa Conference League qualifier prepare at the end of the month.

The captain said: “You always hope to start the season well. We didn’t manage to do that last season and in hindsight that’s perhaps understandable given the changes in players and coaches.

“It’s good to do business early. It’s no use if the manager does things at the last minute and the guys leave.

“We’d like to think we’re in a better place, but we haven’t [League] Cup because we qualified for Europe, but hopefully then [Europe] Come by on the 27th, we’ve come to the right place.

“We weren’t far away last season. Aberdeen won seven straight games and I think they almost doubled their points tally in those seven games. It shows you how tight the league is.

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“We were disappointed at times last season – the start was pretty bad, there were periods in the season where we should have done better – but we finished fifth and almost fourth so there’s room for improvement.”

“I think we’ve improved as a squad and I think there will be a few more new faces to come before the window closes.

“It’s good to take on new guys so early. You might think that what we’ve added is a bit of quality too.

“At the start of last season, when the new coach came, there were a lot of changes and changes at the club.

“Hopefully everything is a little calmer and we hopefully have a good basis for qualifying for Europe.”

The most notable departure from Hibs, who is flying to Spain for a warm-weather training camp today (Thursday), was that of top scorer Kevin Nisbet to Millwall.

Marshall has admitted the Scotland striker is set to suffer a huge loss.

The 38-year-old added: “Of course he scores and he’s dangerous, but in terms of his all-round play he’s an important player.”

“The club acted by signing a striker [Adam Le Fondre] pretty early and I’m sure there will be others to come.

“Listen, it’s a big mistake, it’s going to be tough, but it’s hard to keep players of this level at the club. It’s a great opportunity for him to take part in the English championship.

“There will always be another player. Martin Boyle is fit again so he will be a great player when he comes back.

Grace Reader

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