Fontaine: Not the end of the world if Hibs finish third

Liam Fontaine is fit and ready to play after missing eight games because of a thigh injury
Liam Fontaine is fit and ready to play after missing eight games because of a thigh injury
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Liam Fontaine today insisted it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Hibs were to finish third rather than second in the Championship although he admitted he’d rather miss the extra two games that would entail.

The Easter Road outfit go into their final game of the regulation season against Queen of the South at home tomorrow still seeking to overhaul Falkirk to clinch that runners-up spot although the Bairns’ lead is now down to just three goals.

However, rather than indulge himself in a debate as to how many Alan Stubbs’ players might need to score to suprass Falkirk – who face Morton – Fontaine reckons the overriding priority is simply to win.

He said: “Whatever happens will happen. We have to put three points on the board. If Falkirk slip up we need to make sure we do our bit and then things will take care of themselves.”

Fontaine knows the Hibs support will keep him and his team-mates aware of what is going on at Falkirk but is adamant they can’t let the reaction of the supporters affect them. “We’ll get on with it and I’m sure we’ll know at half-time what is happening in the other game.

“But you don’t have time to focus on another result when you are out there on the pitch. It’s all about what we do.

“If we don’t get the three points it won’t matter what the result is elsewhere.”

Fontaine revealed he’d be quite happy to join in a “cavalry charge” if need be, but the defender believes the focus has to be on producing a performance to match that which brought a 4-0 win against Dumbarton in midweek.

He said: “Chuck me up there and I’ll give it a go, I wouldn’t mind. If we get the message to do that we’ll go all out to get those goals. The performance on Tuesday was good, another one of those would put us in good stead.”

Although Hibs would dearly love to take second place, Fontaine believes finishing third wouldn’t make a huge difference as he recalled last season’s play-offs when the Capital side lost to Rangers despite having finished three points ahead of the Ibrox outfit.

He said: “We finished second last season and it didn’t give us any extra advantage. The only thing is we have the cup final at the end of the month so it would just be another few games.

“But we’ve known for a while we were going to have loads of games to play. We’ve done it all season so we’re used to it.

“It’s not the end of the world if we finish third, all you can do is play what’s in front of you. If we finish third we’ll just have to play the two extra games, it’s as simple as that.”

Fontaine, who is hoping to make his comeback after missing Hibs’ last eight matches with a thigh problem, revealed he’s already been through a high pressure final day to a season when Bristol City had to win their last game to gain promotion to the Championship in England, the only difference being they didn’t have to worry about results elsewhere.

He said: “We went up automatically which is obviously a good thing. We didn’t need to pay any attention to what was happening elsewhere, we just needed to win the game.

“It wasn’t a case of needing goals, we just needed a result. We knew a win was enough but you still had the potential banana skin where we could slip up.”

Although it looked at one point as if Hibs would be going down to the wire with Rangers for the title rather than deciding second and third place, Fontaine conceded Mark Warburton’s side had been worthy winners of the title but he believes in recent weeks his team-mates have been showing signs of recapturing the form of earlier in the season.

He said: “Rangers deserve to go up, they have been good all season. We just have the play-offs to focus on and then the big one at the end of the month.

“We had a small dip but I thought Tuesday’s performance was very good. Keats [James Keatings] came in and was really good, he looked sharp and hungry for goals.

“They’re the sort of players we are going to need going into this period.”