Billy BROWN insists he is ready to “do the dirty” on best buddy Jim Jefferies as Hibs’ bid to secure their SPL status against Dunfermline on Monday night.
Even a point would ensure the Easter Road outfit’s safety – but condemn Jefferies and the Pars to First Division football next season.
And Brown won’t let one of the longest lasting partnerships in football, one which ran from 1988 until the pair were sacked by Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov last August, get in the way of his determination to see Hibs survive in the top flight.
Despite the looming showdown, Brown and Jefferies spoke on the phone the day after Pat Fenlon’s side had beaten Aberdeen and Dunfermline had drawn with Inverness Caley, the Hibs No. 2 joking they’d swapped team news ahead of the big match.
He agrees, however, that Monday night is no laughing matter, although he had never envisaged such a cut-throat situation arising between him and the man with whom he’d shared a dug-out for 24 years.
Brown said: “All my working life as a professional coach has been with Jim really, so it is a very strange situation. But I am the assistant manager of Hibs and my only thought is for Hibs to confirm their SPL status. It’s not personal whatsoever. It’s just unfortunate it’s Jim and Dunfermline.
“These things seem to be thrown up in football, though. I wish it had not happened. I’d thought we’d have got it [avoiding relegation] done and dusted and yet we still have to get something. The fact it’s Jim makes it strange, I never thought it would happen this season, or any season. But it has and my only thought is for Hibs to win.”
Brown knows full well, though, that Jefferies will be the one aiming to be doing the commiserating on the final whistle, warning Fenlon’s squad that under the former Hearts boss Dunfermline are far from a spent force.
He said: “Jim has been one of the top managers this country has had for a long, long time. He has a presence about him, an aura and that’s how I knew he would make a difference at Dunfermline.”
Brown’s insight into the way Jefferies operates allows him to suggest the fans at Easter Road could be in for something special. He said: “Knowing Jim, he will come and attack and hope to win and there’s no way Hibs won’t do the same.
“It makes for an attacking game, I would say. It could be an open game. Dunfermline have to win it so they must have a go and, while a point does Hibs, if you try to play for that it doesn’t work.”