HIBS boss Terry Butcher today hailed “honest professionals” Lewis Stevenson and Paul Cairney after the pair played an integral part in the resounding win over Kilmarnock.
The Easter Road men beat their Ayrshire rivals 3-0, with Stevenson and Cairney both on the scoresheet and defender Paul Hanlon bagging the other goal.
But it was the overall performance and sheer hard graft of his players on the flanks which pleased Butcher most.
They fired in a string of crosses throughout the 90 minutes, teeing up numerous chances for their team-mates and running themselves into the ground to ensure that Hibs bagged all three points.
Butcher said: “Lewis and Paul typified the team spirit yesterday. They are not going to go past people and hit the byeline, they don’t have the Alex Harris pace and trickery, but what they do is they maximise their strengths and they have given us some really solid performances. It might not be thrill-a-minute, but it is steady and it is honest.
“They are really honest people.
“Paul Cairney was in the process of being taken off when he scored our second goal – so he stayed on for a few minutes longer!
“But the workrate from everyone was just sensational.”
The manner of yesterday’s victory left both the players and supporters on something of a high ahead of Thursday night’s derby against Hearts.
The two sides clash at Easter Road in the traditional New Year fixture and, while Hearts are rooted to the foot of the table on minus two points, Hibs sit in seventh spot on 24.
Butcher is keen for Hibs to climb the table and to finally build some momentum on their home patch and continued: “To win the last game of 2013 at home when we’ve only won two previous ones does help send the supporters away happy – and now everyone is buoyant and bubbly ahead of Thursday night.
“There will be a lot more people here to cheer us on, hopefully, and hopefully we can give them the same kind of result.
“Everyone says it’s a big game, a massive game, but to me it’s just another game that we are looking forward to playing.
“The games are coming thick and fast, but when you are winning games, picking up points and keeping clean sheets, you can’t wait for games to come. It is enjoyable.”