ALAN STUBBS has called on Hibs to blast their way into the Scottish Cup semi-finals and boost his chances of keeping together a squad which he believes is destined for success.
The Easter Road side are red-hot favourites to breeze past League Two side Berwick Rangers in tomorrow’s quarter-finals and set up a money-spinning last-four showdown at Hampden.
With uncertainty over which division Hibs will be playing in next season as they chase promotion from the Championship to the Premiership via the end-of-season play-offs, Stubbs explained that progressing to the semi-finals would strengthen his hand in terms of being able to hand out contracts and bolster his squad.
“If we can get through, from a budget point of view it would certainly help,” said the head coach. “It will mean that there is a good chance we can keep this squad together for next season. It will help with season tickets as well.
“If we can do that it would be great because I feel like I am putting together a squad of players with a real chance to be successful here. The position at the moment is that [contracts] will take care of themselves. We can only focus on the football and if we do well then everything else will fall into place. The players are aware of what is happening.
“If possible we would like to get everything done very early [contracts-wise], in the same way we did in January with our business. If we are in the right position, we will do it as early as possible. However we have a budget and the further we can go in this competition, the easier it will be to keep this squad in place.”
Stubbs refuses to entertain the notion that his side are certainties to get past a side who have slipped to second-bottom of League Two. “People make the assumption that we are already in the semi-final. I’m certainly not of that opinion,” said Stubbs. “We will give Berwick the utmost respect. You only need to look at the dossier I have on my desk and the analysis we have on Berwick. I would say we have extensive footage and reports from at least their last six matches. That tells you we are not taking them lightly.”
Stubbs has a full squad to choose from with the exception of Farid El Alagui, who is still working his way back to fitness after an Achilles problem, and the cup-tied duo of Keith Watson and Martin Boyle.