Terry Butcher today insisted he won’t give up on a top-six finish – but admitted Hibs’ hopes are now “hanging by a thread”.
Inverness Caley while Saints were enjoying a 1-0 victory over Dundee United last night.
A game in hand and a superior goal difference have the odds stacked heavily in favour of the Perth outfit, but with a trip to Saints to come a week on Saturday, Hibs boss Butcher vowed to fight on.
Labelling the match which marked his return to the club he managed for almost five years before moving to Edinburgh in November as “brutal,” Butcher revealed he’d again been bitterly disappointed with his team’s performance.
Having watched Hibs battle back from being two goals down to come within seconds of taking all three points against Motherwell at the weekend, Butcher had made the familiar trip north full of optimism.
However, now he knows Hibs’ dream of a top-six finish for the first time in four seasons is out of their hands, with the Capital side now dependent on others “doing them a favour”.
Agreeing that other than an early shot from defender Ryan McGivern which was tipped over by Caley goalkeeper Dean Brill, Hibs had offered no threat to goal, Butcher said: “We never looked like scoring. It was frustrating. How can we be so fluent, adventurous and brave on Saturday and then have such a timid approach. Draws don’t get you into the top six. Wins will, but not draws.”
Even a first clean sheet in 11 matches was of scant consolation to the former England centre-half who, when asked where last night’s results left Hibs’ chances of overhauling St Johnstone, replied: “Hanging by a thread I would say, if I’m being honest.”
However, he added: “We will keep on fighting, keep on going. It’s a case of battling on and Saturday’s game with Partick Thistle becomes an even bigger one for us.”