TERRY BUTCHER has urged Hibs supporters to create a wall of sound at Easter Road tomorrow and roar the team over the line to Premiership survival.
The manager and his players were buoyed by a vocal travelling support as they beat Hamilton 2-0 in the first leg of the play-off final on Wednesday.
Butcher went on the New Douglas Park pitch at the end to thank the 2700 Hibees for their backing and he has pleaded with the green-and-white army to create another rousing atmosphere for tomorrow’s second leg at Easter Road, a venue where his players have toiled this season.
“The supporters were great in midweek and that’s why I went over to them at the end,” he told the Evening News. “They backed us in their numbers and I’ve got every confidence they’ll do the same tomorrow. When you’ve got that support behind you, it’s a wonderful feeling. When it comes to the crunch and your backs are against the wall, you need everybody to come out fighting together, and that includes the fans. It really is incredible when you’ve got that backing. It makes you play better and it makes you want to reward the support. It’s a vicious circle, though. We need to win games to get them singing, but we know that and we want that to happen.”
Butcher knows Hibs have let their supporters down on too many occasions this season and he is desperate to ensure they at least send them off for the summer break on a high note.
“We’ve sent them away a lot of times this season unhappy,” said the manager. “We haven’t given them a lot to cheer about, so hopefully their voices will be fresh. It would be great for the fans, the players and the club if we could get one last rousing victory tomorrow and send everyone away happy for the summer.
“That’s what we’ve been striving for ever since we lost to Kilmarnock two weeks ago.
“We’ve worked very hard to get half the job done and we want to finish off the other half tomorrow. Hopefully, at the end of it we can come out on top and end the season on a good note.”
Even though Hibs are already 2-0 up, Butcher insists his side must treat tomorrow’s game like a one-off tie, starting at 0-0, as opposed to trying merely to protect their advantage.
“It’s like a European match in many aspects. What do you do when you’ve won 2-0 away from home? Although away goals don’t count double in this. What do you do? Do you sit back and soak it up, or do you go for more goals? I think we approach it as if it’s a one-off game, and just say ‘Right, we want to win this match’.
“Obviously, the situation could change later on in the game if the score stays the same.
“Whatever happens, you have to react to that. But at this moment in time we’re saying ‘Right, this is how we’ll play, this is how we think Hamilton will play. Let’s make sure we do our job and get more goals’. Because if we can score more goals that’s a lot more that Hamilton have to score as well.
“We’ll treat Hamilton with great respect because they’re a good side. They’ve had a pretty formidable season.
“They’ve got 90 minutes, we’ve got 90 minutes, and we want to come out on top.”