Dylan McGeouch has warned his Hibs team-mates that Dumbarton will be out to create more headlines after beating the Easter Road side’s Championship rivals for the second time this season.
The part-timers caused an upset when Mark Docherty, who had hit the winner against Dundee United in August, claimed the only goal of the game to knock the Tannadice outfit off the top of the table while the Capital club were simultaneously defeating Falkirk.
Hibs took full advantage of that shock result last Friday by demolishing Ray McKinnon’s side to open up a four-point gap at the top.
But now Neil Lennon’s side face what the manager has already conceded is a tricky fixture when they visit the Cheaper Direct Insurance Stadium, a venue at which they themselves were twice beaten last season.
McGeouch acknowledged the potential banana skin, saying: “Hibs and Dundee United are favourites to go up and every place you go teams will be looking to take your scalp.
“Teams like Dumbarton know that will create big headlines especially with us being at the top of the league. They will be looking to try and beat us, that’s human nature.
“If the team you are playing knows that you are going for a league title then they want to beat you and put a marker down.
“We’ve not had an easy game at Dumbarton in the past few seasons. They have been really tough and tight. It’s just another challenge to us and it is the next game and the most important one for us.”
However, the midfielder claimed he and his team-mates are “buzzing” after their emphatic victory over United in front of a near sell-out crowd at Easter Road, but agreed they face a mental challenge when they play before fewer than 1500 and in less hospitable surroundings today.
He said: “Being beaten by Dundee United a few weeks earlier had made us more determined to win as we knew we would open up a four-point gap which was good for us.
“Now we have to manage today’s game. Teams that win championships need to cope. It’s easier to go and play in front of 19,000 supporters at home.
“Away to Dumbarton on a cold day they will make it difficult for us and these are the sort of challenges you need to overcome.
“It’s not all in the head as adrenalin carries you through in a packed house under floodlights, but on a cold day in Dumbarton you have to give them credit as they know how they are going to play, they will set up to be compact and make life difficult.”
As things stand today will be McGeouch’s former Celtic team-mate Kris Commons’ last game for Hibs, with the 33-year-old midfielder’s 28-day emergency loan coming to an end tomorrow.
But McGeouch insisted everyone at Easter Road is anxious to see the former Scotland midfielder stay, saying: “Maybe after today a few of the boys will send him a text to convince him to stay although that’s between the two clubs.
“It’s out of our hands but we’d love to keep him, it would give us a massive lift. When you think of the level he’s played at, the goals he’s scored and all the games he’s played in, it would put a massive marker down.
“He’s still the same player I played with at Celtic, you don’t lose that.
“You can still see he’s got the quality on the ball. He’s had a few games now and you can see with every game he’s progressively getting better, fitter and sharper.
“On the pitch, he’s great to have around. His awareness on the ball and ability is beyond question.
“If we can get him to the end of the season we will see the benefits of that.”