Alan Stubbs today admitted Hibs could face the nightmare of a fixture backlog in April as they chase glory on three fronts.
The Easter Road outfit, who play a rearranged Championship match against Morton next midweek, also have an outstanding league game with Livingston to fit into their schedule after they clinched their place in this season’s League Cup final. But this week’s Scottish Cup triumph over Hearts and an international break at the end of next month will add to the congestion as the Edinburgh club’s season hits a dramatic finale.
The league match against Rangers which was pencilled in for Monday, March 7, will now be pushed back into April with both sides now in the quarter-final of the Cup while Dumbarton’s visit to Edinburgh on Saturday, March 26 clashes with double headers on the international front for Scotland and their Under-21s.
And, with John McGinn, Liam Henderson and Jason Cummings virtual certainties to be named in Ricky Sbragia’s Under-21 squad, Hibs would be entitled to call for a postponement of the Dumbarton game. Things could become even more complicated were Hibs to continue their astonishing run of triumphs against Premiership sides – the scalps of Aberdeen, Dundee United, St Johnstone and Hearts having already being taken – by beating Scottish Cup holders Inverness Caley as their league game with Falkirk on Friday, April 15, would clash with the semi-final weekend.
The regular Championship season is due to end on April 30 when Hibs host Queen of the South but there is also the possibility of the Capital club being involved in the play-offs which could involve another four matches,
However, Stubbs insisted he has the squad to cope with such a potentially gruelling schedule. He said: “I have to stress we haven’t won anything yet, all we have done is give ourselves an opportunity. “But you don’t find yourself in a situation like this all the time and that’s why we have to try to grasp it with both hands. We have spoken of opportunities, not letting them pass you by and we are starting to get towards that situation now. We’re in a final where anything can happen. We’ve got a quarter-final when, I think, there will be another big crowd. It’s a tough game, Yogi [John Hughes] a former team-mate of mine coming back to Easter Road.
“Again, anything can happen, but the main priority is the league and gaining promotion. “I don’t look on it as a hindrance but a really exciting end to the season which we have to enjoy.
“We might have to play seven or eight matches in April but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. It’s going to be a little bit challenging, I am not going to deny that. But I think if it means us playing extra games in the space of two or three weeks I can assure you the players will be happy to do that.
“With the squad of players we have we are more than capable of dealing with it but we have to be mindful of how we use the squad in these games. The good thing for me, though, is that if I make four or five changes, then I honestly believe it would not affect the momentum of things too much because we have such strength in depth in the squad.”