Alan Stubbs today welcomed “the luck of the draw” after Hibs landed a fourth consecutive home match in this season’s League Cup, the Easter Road side paired with managerlesss Dundee United in a repeat of last year’s quarter-final.
Back then the two sides produced a thrilling match, the Capital side coming back three times against their Premiership opposition only to lose on sudden-death penalties after extra-time.
Stubbs believes the fans who come along to Easter Road at the end of next month could enjoy another exciting match, his only regret being that his “old mate” Jackie McNamara, a former Celtic colleague, won’t be in the away dugout, the Tannadice boss having been sacked after a miserable run of results.
Hibs have already beaten Montrose, Stranraer and Premiership leaders Aberdeen in this season’s competition and, Stubbs admitted, he was relishing facing another top-flight club.
“We’ve got what we wanted,” said the head coach. “A home draw but obviously with Dundee United being Premiership opposition it’s going to be a tough game. It’s a chance for us to take another scalp but United, even though where they are at the moment, have some very good players. I am disappointed I won’t be facing my old mate in the dugout but I am sure when the new manager comes in that will give them a lift.
“He might have a different style that we’ll have to take on board but I think when the game comes around it will be two teams that want to play, getting the ball down and playing the right way. So from that point of view I am very happy, I think it will suit us.”
While insisting he wasn’t “having a pop” at anyone, Stubbs pointed to how other Championship sides usually set out to frustrate Hibs by sitting in, often getting ten men behind the ball before adding: “Football is an entertainment and I want my team to be entertaining.
“I want us to be successful but also entertaining. My teams will always go out and try to win the game, I don’t see any point in doing it any other way. I want my teams to be expressive and playing to win and I think when United arrive here we’ll have two teams that are spoken about for trying to play the right way.”
Hibs also defeated Ross County last season before losing to United and, Stubbs believes, facing top flight opposition suits his players. He said: “It’s pretty straightforward, Premiership teams have a game plan more often than not which is a bit more open. I think the fact it’s a one-off game helps, both teams know it has to be finished on the night.”
Accepting the draw had been kind yet again in presenting Hibs with another match at Easter Road, Stubbs said: “Home ties are all you can ask for. We’ve had a little bit of luck in getting home draws, but it’s only lucky if you come through them. I’m delighted to be at home, our fans are fantastic, they’ll get right behind us. We are, potentially, one game away from Hampden again and they can help the team over the line.”