Darren McGregor has urged his Hibs team-mates to take their chance to open up a nine-point lead at the top of the Championship table when they face Raith Rovers on Saturday.
McGregor admitted former Hibs boss and captain John Hughes will have the Kirkcaldy side “geed up” for his first match as their new manager, a game which falls between two Scottish Cup derbies against Hearts for the Capital club.
Neil Lennon’s players slipped up ahead of their fifth-round tie at Tynecastle, held to a 1-1 draw at home by Ayr United, a result which allowed title rivals Dundee United to trim their advantage to six points.
But, as Hibs battled out a 0-0 draw in Gorgie – forcing a replay against the Jambos next Wednesday – Ray McKinnon’s players themselves stumbled, falling to a 3-0 defeat by Falkirk.
And, with United playing Queen of the South in the semi-finals of the Irn-Bru Cup this weekend, the game in hand Hibs have could see them widen the gap at the top.
Voicing his belief that Lennon’s players had been guilty of some complacency against Ayr following a run of five straight wins, McGregor said: “We need to up our levels. The incentive should be to go nine points clear. Their new manager is quite familiar with this club and he will have them geed up, but I believe we have the squad that can go and solidify our position at the top.”