Alan Stubbs today admitted he’s quite happy to be put through the emotional wringer by his players – so long as they come up with the right result.
The Hibs head coach has twice watched his side mount stunning fightbacks, coming up with last-ditch winners against Dumbarton and Cowdenbeath, but he conceded that too many nerve-shredding experiences could lead to him becoming prematurely grey.
However, he insisted it’s a price he’s willing to pay, predicting that such is the progress he sees his players making will one day leave him with a huge smile on his face.
He said: “If we win I am happy to go through the wringer, that’s the most important thing. It’s the other side I do not want to contemplate, but football isn’t straight forward. We have to deal with it and once we do then we will come through the other side a much stronger outfit, a much stronger unit.
“The most pleasing thing is that when we do get it right there will be a huge smile on my face to think ‘lads you were good, everything went right today’.”
And if events haven’t run as smoothly as he and the fans might have liked so far, Stubbs also insisted his players deserve credit for securing victories from two games he questioned whether they’d have been capable of winning last season.
He said: “Yes, we are making it hard for ourselves. Yes, you can criticise and be negative but the hardest thing in football is getting results so whether you like it or not, you have to give them credit because they’ve found a way to get themselves back into games which, at one point, was looking very unlikely.
“We have been up and down. It was never going to be easy, but I feel we are making small steps in the right direction.”
While delighted with the fighting spirit shown by his players, Stubbs revealed he believes they are reaping the rewards of the hard work which is being put in behind the scenes.
He said: “One thing we have worked on an awful lot is our fitness. I think the only way you keep going at the end of a game is if you are fit. I think first and foremost you have to end the game hoping you are fitter than the opposition and I think we have made giant steps. The players are much fitter and stronger. They are all working hard in the gym and it’s just a matter of time before we start to see that pay off.
“It’s going to be a long season, we might not necessarily have started off the way we would have liked to but we are in there.
“Come the end of the season we can judge who has been the best team, who has started well but perhaps tailed off, who has started not so well but finished stronger.
“I think that’s going to be the same for a lot of clubs.”