ALAN STUBBS has warned his players to be on their guard against basement outfit Livingston tonight, telling them: “They need the points just as badly as we do.”
While Hibs travel determined to take the three points which will keep the heat on Rangers in the fight for second place in the Championship table, Mark Burchill’s reinvigorated side know victory will take them off bottom spot at the expense of Alloa Athletic.
It was a scenario which looked unlikely when the Lions managed just three points from nine matches in a two-month winless run, but their Petrofac Training Cup final triumph has sparked a resurgence which Burchill will hope will even take them beyond the relegation play-off spot with Cowdenbeath only one point better off than Alloa.
Against such a background, Stubbs believes tonight’s encounter could prove to be a wide-open affair with both sides desperate for full points to aid their own particular agenda.
The Hibs head coach said: “I have seen Livingston on a few occasions recently and they have certainly got a spirit amongst them. They’ve won three and drawn their last game against Rangers and I know Mark will be disappointed that they only took a point out of that game when they could have won it. They have a real tempo about them at the moment, the results have envigorated them, given them a real lift so we know we will be in for a difficult game.”
Hibs will be without playmaker Scott Allan, nominated by his fellow professionals for the Championship’s player of the year award, the midfielder ruled out by a one-match ban. Martin Boyle, who was cup-tied at the weekend, is likely to take the wing-back berth he filled in the derby win against Hearts, with Dylan McGeouch restored to a more familiar role in central midfield.