Fraser Fyvie has claimed he and his Hibs team-mates will rise to the occasion tonight as they go head-to-head with Falkirk in the race for second place in the Championship table.
The Hibees have slipped off the pace in recent weeks, dropping six points behind Peter Houston’s side following their shock defeat by relegated Alloa Athletic at the weekend.
But, while they have two matches in hand over the Bairns, Fyvie admitted every game the Capital club now play has assumed a “must-win” mantle after a miserable run of just one victory in their last seven league matches.
Three defeats in the space of just six days at the end of February ended Hibs’ title challenge. Rangers took advantage by winning the championship and the one automatic promotion place, leaving Alan Stubbs’ players, Falkirk and Raith Rovers to battle it out in the play-offs.
However, both Hibs and Falkirk covet second place, a finish which would leave them with two fewer play-off matches to play, an important point particularly as far as the Edinburgh outfit are concerned given they went all the way to the final of the League Cup and entertain the hope of a Scottish Cup final appearance with a semi-final clash against Dundee United following hard on the heels of tonight’s match.
All focus, though, is on tonight’s encounter with Falkirk, Fyvie admitting that he could hardly have envisaged the scenario which has engulfed Hibs when he was forced to look on helplessly, the victim of a knee injury which saw him miss 13 matches. The midfielder returned for the weekend trip to the Indodrill Stadium only for the agony to continue.
“It was great to be back,” admitted the former Aberdeen and Wigan player. “But the result was very disappointing.
“It’s been tough just watching, not being able to play and to help do anything about it but these things happen to most teams during the course of a season.
“You can’t point to a specific thing, you just have to soldier on and so we go again tonight. That’s what the manager has said. We believe it. We have a tight bunch of boys here, no-one is having a go at anyone and we are all pulling in the same direction.”
Despite a season which was going so well taking a nosedive, Fyvie insisted that other than dented pride, Hibs’ prime target – a return to the Premiership – remained achievable, claiming that things can just as quickly turn in the opposite direction again.
He said: “We have a good enough squad to go and compete and win games. Unfortunately, we’ve had a dip in form which we want to put behind us by getting the three points tonight and catching Falkirk.
“No-one has mentioned this being a crisis, it’s not that at all. We wanted to win the league, it didn’t happen. Rangers did it and fair play to them.
“Now we want second place and two fewer games to play. Everyone knows we’ve had a lot of games this season being involved in the two cups as well as the league so second place would be good for us.”
Fyvie agreed recent weeks have proved a stark contrast to the first half of the campaign when Hibs were scoring goals and keeping clean sheets, Stubbs’ side having failed to enjoy even one shut-out in their last ten games in which they have scored just 11 times.
But, he insisted, it was up to everyone to ensure both of those statistics improved.
“I think most strikers go on a little dip now and then so it’s up to others to step in and grabs some goals – myself included as I haven’t got one this season.
“It’s up to the players higher up the pitch to chip in a bit.
“We’ve had chances to score, we’ve had a couple of bad performances but we’ve created so many chances during the course of games we should be scoring at least two a game. That’s something we’ve been working hard on.”
Hibs have just edged Falkirk in terms of results this season, a controversial Jason Cummings penalty providing them with the only win from the three previous fixtures, the other two having ended in 1-1 draws.
As such, Fyvie says both sides are good enough to believe they can win promotion but Hibs have the “big game” players who can wrest second place back from Falkirk.
He said: “Falkirk have a good squad of players, there’s been nothing between the teams who both want promotion. I think both will be going for it tonight which should make it an enjoyable game.
“Do we have the big-game players – I would say so.”