Don’t write off Queens in play-off battle – Stubbs

Alan Stubbs, left, took in Saturday's match at Palmerston alongside assistant coach Andy Holden
Alan Stubbs, left, took in Saturday's match at Palmerston alongside assistant coach Andy Holden
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Hibs boss Alan Stubbs today insisted he’s none the wiser as to who the Easter Road club will be facing in their play-off semi-final after watching Rangers make themselves favourites to progress with a 2-1 win over Queen of the South.

Rangers make themselves favourites to progress with a 2-1 win over Queen of the South.

The Capital club will face the winners of the two-legged tie – the second of which will be played at Ibrox on Sunday – but, despite Rangers now having the advantage, Stubbs refused to write off Queens’ chances.

Stubbs made the trip to Dumfries on Saturday evening before taking his squad to La Manga in the south of Spain for a week-long training camp and, although having seen both Rangers and Queen of the South on numerous occasions this season, he was adamant the journey was worthwhile.

Insisting the tie is still on a knife-edge, the head coach said: “It’s still alive, still very close even with Rangers getting the result. Having watched the game it’s not any clearer.

“Rangers will be favourites because they now lead 2-1 and they’ll be happy with that but Queens know they aren’t out of it.”

However, Stubbs conceded he’d rather be in Rangers boss Stuart McCall’s position than that of the Doonhamers manager James Fowler, ex-Hibs star Dean Shiels claiming the winner for the Glasgow side after Queens’ Derek Lyle had cancelled out Steven Smith’s sensational free-kick. He said: “I’d rather be going into the second leg having won than being behind but anyone watching the game will say it was very close. There wasn’t an awful lot in it as the result shows.

“Rangers scored two good goals, Queens got theirs from a set-piece and after that they looked as if they might get a second.”

Stubbs will be back to watch the second leg, insisting he can learn something new every time, Smith having played his first game for Rangers since early March and playing left wingback in a 3-5-2 formation rather than left back.

He said: “I’d only seen Rangers play three at the back once, against us at Easter Road. The reason you go to games is you see them do different things, different players in different positions so from that point of view it’s always worthwhile.

“Even if I’d watch both sides ten times it wouldn’t have made any difference, I’d be there to see them an eleventh time. You have to focus on everything. You don’t leave any stone unturned.”