Hibs boss Alan Stubbs today backed his players to continue raising the bar, insisting he’s already seen his team get better with every passing game.
Although the Easter Road outfit earned a lot of plaudits for their performance in the midweek Petrofac Training Cup defeat by Rangers, the head coach insisted there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
As he looked ahead to tomorrow’s opening Championship fixture with Livingston, Stubbs revealed he’s confident his players will not only match their display at Ibrox but better it.
Well aware as a former Celtic player of how teams could raise their game when facing either side of the Old Firm only to let standards drop in the following match, he said: “We’ll be ready. I’m confident of that. I have complete confidence in the players. They’re the ones who are raising the bar in every game. From the day I walked in, to Tuesday night, I think the performances in each game have got better. We’re fitter and sharper. And against Rangers we were, at times, very good.
“I think you only had to look at the performance to see that there has been a notable change. We’ve played some good games over the course of the six weeks and we’ve played some good teams. Against those teams, our performances have been better and that gives me a lot of belief that they can raise their game against the so-called better teams.
“I want them to do that against any team, not just the bigger teams. I want them to be consistent, whether we are playing the top or the bottom of the league.”
Tomorrow’s match gives Hibs the opportunity to begin repairing the appalling home record which has blighted their last few seasons, but Stubbs expects his side to be a totally different proposition this time round.
“I wasn’t here last season, so I don’t want to talk about that,“ he said “I’m talking about now. I’m not going to be judged on last season, I’ll be judged on this season.
“I fully expect us to be a completely different force to what we were then. The players are really looking forward to playing at Easter Road tomorrow. We have to show a real belief, a desire and a courage to do exactly what we did at Ibrox at Easter Road.”
Stubbs has been pleasantly surprised by the squad he inherited from predecessor Terry Butcher. He said: “I have been left with some good players that just needed picking up and in any walk of life, not just football, if you go into any job confident you get a different employee.”