Hibs head coach praises team’s “bottle”

Hibs players celebrate with Paul Hanlon, centre, after his goal at Dumbarton

Hibs players celebrate with Paul Hanlon, centre, after his goal at Dumbarton

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Hibs boss Alan Stubbs today praised the “bottle” of his players after they brought a run of three straight defeats to an end with a narrow victory over ten-man Dumbarton.

Losing to Rangers, Raith Rovers and Queen of the South, setbacks which have left the Easter Road club’s hopes of finishing second in the Championship table hanging by a thread, had many claiming Stubbs’ side were failing to cope with the heat.

But goals by Paul Hanlon and Jason Cummings, his 16th of the season, steered Hibs to a precious three points and, in Stubbs’ estimation, answered their critics.

He did, however, admit his players could have made it easier for themselves, Farid El Alagui starting his first match since August, hitting the post with a first-half penalty before Hanlon’s header put them ahead.

Mitch Megginson levelled for Ian Murray’s side but Cummings was there to steer home Scott Allan’s pass.

Asked if his over-riding emotion was relief, Stubbs said: “No, because I did not think we have been playing badly. I knew it was going to come.

“We should have won the game more comfortably and should have done, but we did win it and I thought we showed a bit of bottle.

“Farid might have had two or three but there were a few who could have had two or three. Farid is coming back and I thought he tried too hard. He just needs to let his game come to him but the goals will come, I have no doubt about that.”

And Stubbs praised the discipline of defender Jordon Forster, starting his first game since mid-October, after he was involved in an incident which saw Dumbarton stopper Chris Turner sent off.

Forster was guilty of a foul on his opponent who reacted angrily, squaring up to the Hibs youngster and headbutting him, leaving referee Craig Charleston with no option but to show him the red card.

The Hibs head coach said: “I thought Jordon’s behaviour was impeccable. It could have been a lot worse but the discipline of my players was very good.”

Sons boss Ian Murray had no dispute about the sending off although he felt Forster, who was booked after the incident, might have been more harshly punished but, he insisted going down to ten men cost his side a chance of winning.

He said: “It was a red card all day long but it came just after we scored. I felt we were well on top at that time and could have gone on to win.”