Alan Stubbs today revealed how he sensed something special was brewing as Hibs readied themselves for a visit from Rangers – but admitted even he could not have envisaged the four-goal hammering handed out to the troubled Ibrox club.
Goals from David Gray, Jason Cummings, Scott Robertson and Liam Craig gave Hibs a crushing victory over the Glasgow outfit, a result which left interim Rangers boss Kenny McDowall apologising to their fans while conceding he was just glad his players had managed to keep the score to 4-0.
But for Stubbs it was a performance which came as near to perfection as he could have wished for as Hibs ended 2014, a year most fans will want to forget, with three successive victories.
The head coach said: “I had a funny feeling before the game that there was a big performance in us. I could see from the players that they were up for it, from the way they have been playing, the way they were looking forward to the game. We’d trained on the pitch on Friday and there was a real zip and sharpness about them.
“I just knew they were going to put in a big performance but I don’t think anyone could have envisaged a 4-0. However, at this moment in time, I don’t think they will fear anyone. Hopefully that is taken the right way, but when you are confident and winning games of football it doesn’t make any difference who you play against.
“At the moment the players are really confident and are playing some fantastic football. They were intelligent, their movement was too much for Rangers and all over the pitch we completely dominated the game.
“I thought we were very clever in possession. When we had to be patient we were, when the pass was on between the lines or in the wide areas we saw it. We made the right decision more often than not.”
Stubbs hailed the quality of Hibs’ four goals, the first two coming within the opening 12 minutes from Gray and Cummings, the players on the scoresheet when the Capital club defeated Rangers 3-1 at Ibrox in September.
Gray in particular earned a word of praise, the right-back again playing through the pain barrier as he postpones an inevitable operation on a groin problem. Describing his shot which whistled past Rangers goalkeeper Steve Simonsen as “unstoppable”, Stubbs said: “I was right behind it and there was only one place it was going – a reward for the fact he is still playing.”