Jordon Forster today claimed Terry Butcher’s squad aren’t concerned by the threat of being dragged into a play-off battle because their eyes are firmly fixed on clinching a top-six finish.
Although the Easter Road outfit are only three points behind sixth-placed St Johnstone, their proximity to the second-bottom spot has been causing some fans a degree of anxiety, particularly as Hibs have won just one of their last six Scottish Premiership matches.
While Forster admitted he and his team-mates are aware just six points separate them from Ross County and Partick Thistle, who are locked on the 26-point mark, the big defender insisted Butcher’s players are “looking up, not down”.
He said: “You’re always aware of the teams round about you. Obviously the performances haven’t been good enough, and people start to question the teams coming up behind us, but we’re solely focused on Motherwell today. If we get the three points, which we are aiming to do, it moves us away from them and closer to St Johnstone.”
Although Hibs face a tough run-in before the split, today’s match is followed by a run of four away games – against Inverness Caley, Partick Thistle, St Johnstone and Hearts – with Aberdeen to visit Easter Road in the final match before top and bottom is decided, Forster reckons “getting back to basics” can pull them through, citing the recent performances against Ross County and Kilmarnock which secured four precious points.
He said: “The football maybe wasn’t great, but we were harder to beat. If we stop
conceding and win games 1-0, it might not be pretty, but that’s what we need to do to try to pick up points.”
With St Johnstone on Scottish Cup duty this weekend, today’s visit from Motherwell – themselves chasing Aberdeen in second place – gives Hibs a chance to haul themselves level with the Perth club with a trip to McDiarmid Park in a fortnight’s time, a clash which could prove pivotal.
Forster said: “Every game is important, but the match in Perth is going to be a big game for us. That’s in three or four games’ time, so we are focused on today, and if we get the three points it stands us in good stead going into a busy couple of weeks.”