Alan Stubbs today heaped praise on his players after their demolition of Dundee United as they reached the semi-finals of the League Cup for the first time since winning the trophy eight years ago.
But he immediately told them to forget last night’s memorable performance as they ran the Premiership basement side ragged, goals from skipper David Gray, Jason Cummings – his 12th of the season – and a last-gasp third goal from Lewis Stevenson rounding off a performance the head coach described as being “right up there” with any he has seen from his team.
And, while he insisted he wasn’t greedy, Stubbs admitted Hibs’ winning margin could have been even greater had it not been for a string of impressive saves from United goalkeeper Michal Szromnik while James Keatings also hit the post.
Stubbs, however, was delighted with his team’s display coming as it did just three days after they’d ended Rangers’ 100 per cent start to the Championship season, cutting the Ibrox club’s lead at the top to five points.
He said: “I was delighted to have this game after Sunday because we did not want the players to dwell on that game. It gave us a chance to quickly move on and turn our attention to this.”
Agreeing his side had played with a panache, Stubbs went on: “I think when you have won 11 games on the bounce, if you do not have a swagger to you, then you never will.
“Confidence is everything in football. I said to them downstairs when you are winning games you are never tired. When you are losing, you are always tired.
“At this moment, we are winning and you would not have thought that team had played on Sunday the way they performed. They deserve a huge amount of credit.
“They will get that from me tonight but tomorrow it’s all about St Mirren.”
Stubbs admitted he and his players will look forward to Monday’s draw, Hibs going into the hat with three more Premiership sides, Celtic, Ross County and St Johnstone and that he’ll eagerly look forward to seeing who his team will play.
“I don’t know about that,” was his answer when asked if he thought Hibs could now go all the way, adding: “There are some very good teams in there – but I think we are one of them.
“But whoever we get we are going to go there and have a go.
“On the day, anything can happen because I think we are starting to put a really good team together.
“The players have had a lot of credit for the results recently but there’s a lot of people behind the scenes that deserve a lot of credit for allowing me and my staff to be able to put a team together I think the fans are starting to be proud of.”
• Hibs’ forthcoming Championship clash with Livingston at Easter Road – postponed due to international call-ups – will now be played on Tuesday, November 17 with a 7.45pm kick-off.