Alan Stubbs has insisted Monday’s Ibrox showdown between Hibs and Rangers won’t decide the Championship title race.
The Easter Road head coach claimed the clash was always going to be “a great game”, but the fact the clubs are now level at the top of the table will add extra spice to the match.
While delighted with the battling qualities his side displayed to grab a late, late winner against Queen of the South on Saturday only hours after Falkirk had beaten Rangers, Stubbs was adamant he won’t be letting anyone get carried away, saying: “There’s still a long way to go.
“I don’t think it will be until towards the end of January that we will get an idea and a clearer picture of how the table or league is going to run its course.
“Irrespective of the results at the weekend, it was always going to be a great game at Ibrox. The fact Rangers have dropped points and we have picked points up and moved level just adds a little bit more spice to the pot.”
Stubbs admitted knowing the outcome of Rangers match at Falkirk had probably not helped his players, who looked a little over-anxious to capitalise on that result, but insisted it was a situation they will have to learn to deal with as the season progresses.
He said: “Queen of the South the South made it difficult for us, but we just never made the right decisions more often than not, we rushed things a little bit. We were a bit too keen to get the ball forward rather than put in an extra pass and a bit of frustration crept in.
“But you cannot be at the top of your game week in, week out. You have to stay in the game and when you get the opportunity hopefully you take it and that was probably the way the game panned out.”
Having often been asked about his team’s “bottle” in the past, Stubbs believes his players deserve the credit they are receiving for the never-say-die performances of the past couple of weeks saying: “It’s a nice alternative to what they have been told in the past. I like to think that my team reflects me and my staff and right now they are rising to the challenge.
“There’s going to be bumps and bruises, twists and turns along the way and the fans have to realise that. But thd most important thing is to get the result and the way we did is always nice. It’s not great for the ticker, but it’s great for team morale.”
However, Lewis Stevenson picked up his sixth booking of the season earning him a one-match suspension which means he will miss the Championship match at home to Raith Rovers on January 2.