ALAN STUBBS believes Hibs’ battling victory against Rangers will have dented the hopes play-off rivals Queen of the South and Falkirk have of overhauling the Easter Road outfit.
The Capital club emerged from the weekend action in second place in the Championship table, two points further ahead of the Bairns while maintaining the gap between themselves and the Doonhamers.
But now Stubbs is demanding his players leave the worrying to their opponents by continuing to win as many games as possible to keep the pressure very much on them.
He said: “I think given the comments that had been made earlier in the week about catching us they would have been looking at Friday night as potentially a chance to close the gap on us. But the hardest thing in football is trying to catch someone rather than be up there in front. The more you keep chasing the more the games run away from you.
“The players know we are on the home run now. We know every game is vital and that we try to take three points in as many of them as we can to keep putting pressure on the teams around us.” Hibs have now lost
just one of their last 18 league matches, even if Stubbs and his players conceded their performance in clocking up a third-successive win against Rangers wasn’t their most convincing of the season.
But the head coach insisted the most pleasing aspect of the victory was seeing a different side to his players, a gritty determination not to end up second best.
He said: “We have had plaudits in the last few months for the way we have played and our style but when you are looking to build something successful you have to have more than one string to your bow. There have been times when we have not necessarily played well and failed to get across the line but we did that against Rangers without controlling the game.”
Now Hibs go into Saturday’s match as firm favourites against a Dumbarton side which has taken just one point from its last six matches, a record Stubbs will insist his players ignore.
He said: “We are on a really good run of form but we will know it will be a tough game. They have made it hard for us at Easter Road on two occasions, the League Cup match and the first league game. We had a convincing away win over them but I’m expecting another difficult game.”
• HIBS fans will have the chance to meet the five January signings, Martin Boyle, Franck Dja Djedje, Tomas Cerny, Keith Watson and Fraser Fyvie, along with Dylan McGeouch, when they visit the club superstore between 2.30 and 4pm on Thursday.