Hibs boss Terry Butcher today urged his players to ensure St Mirren Park continues to be a “happy hunting ground” for the Easter Road club.
The Edinburgh outfit head to the Paisley stadium for the first of their five post-split matches battling to avoid being dragged into a scrap as they bid to steer clear of the newly introduced play-off spot which could see their Scottish Prermiership status threatened.
Hibs currently sit seventh, four points ahead of Partick Thistle who currently occupy that 11th place but suffering the poorest record of any of the bottom six clubs having won just once in their last 13 league matches and anxious to end a run of four successive defeats which has seen them score only one goal.
But Butcher believes the two week break before the final assault came at the right time for his beleagured players, allowing them to “recharge their batteries” and take stock of what’s required over the coming few weeks.
Admitting “scoring a goal” would be a good starting point, Butcher said: “We are all bottom six for a reason, we haven’t won enough games. Everyone thinks they can catch each other, everyone hopes they can avoid the play-off place. But we are in pole position and there’s no point being in this leading position and then throw it away. We don’t intend to do that.
“We still have the ambition to finish seventh, best of the rest, but goals win games and we want to win as many as we can. We have five big battles, five great games to look forward to.”
Butcher accepted, though, that a win in the first of those five games would not only deliver a confidence boost for his players but deal a psychological blow to their rivals. And he hopes happy memories of recent victories at Paisley along with the backing of a big travelling support – the club promising fans who travel a free ticket for the home game against Partick Thistle – can help them achieve that goal.
The Hibs boss, who enjoyed a no-scoring draw at the other end of the M8 in his first match in charge of Hibs, said: “I’m told it’s been a happy hunting ground for Hibs in the recent past so hopefully that will continue to be the case.
“It’s a ground we enjoy going to, a lovely stadium with a beautiful pitch and I am sure there will be a great atmosphere with a lot of Hibs fans going through.”