Alan Stubbs sure Hibs will be in contention

Alan Stubbs has detected no negativity within the Hibs camp. Pic: SNS

Alan Stubbs has detected no negativity within the Hibs camp. Pic: SNS

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Alan Stubbs insists Hibs will be “up there” at the end of the season despite being beaten by both of their biggest rivals for the Championship title.

The Easter Road head coach, however, claimed it was “unbelievable” that his side had taken nothing from those games, beaten by Rangers in extra-time in the Petrofac Training Cup after Danny Handling had been sent off and then narrowly defeated by Hearts in the first Edinburgh derby of the season.

But while acknowledging the hurt being felt by all Hibs fans this week following that ill-tempered affair at Tynecastle which saw Scott Robertson and Osman Sow sent off and then Lewis Stevenson and Jamie Walker handed two match bans following a last-minute clash, Stubbs believes he has seen nothing to fear.

“We are still in the early stages of a building process. Everything is not going to be 100 mph, all systems go, but we are trying to make it that. I said all along our season isn’t going to be about the derby, no-one wants to lose them, the players, myself, my staff, but it is over 36 games, not one.

“It was disappointing, but it was a little setback in a big picture. I think if we needed any evidence that we are going to be up there at the end of the season, we’ve got it. We’ve played our two potentially biggest rivals and it’s unbelievable we’ve come out of those games with nothing. But if we want to take any confidence or credit, we know we have nothing to fear.”

Stubbs admitted the derby defeat had resulted in a sombre mood around the East Mains training centre in the early part of the week, but insisted his players will be lifted for the visit of Falkirk on Saturday when he’ll be without Robertson and Stevenson through suspension while defender Paul Hanlon is still battling a knee injury which forced him to miss the trip to Gorgie.

Meanwhile, Hibs have revealed that Commonwealth Gold medallists, bowler Neil Speirs and boxer Josh Taylor will be their guests at the match.