John McGinn today claimed momentum has swung in Hibs’ favour after Dominique Malonga’s dramatic injury-time winner against Queen of the South hauled the Capital side level with Rangers at the top of the Championship table.
It also marked a 17th match unbeaten for Alan Stubbs’ players at a time when Rangers have faltered, picking up just eight points from their last six league games since being beaten at Easter Road at the beginning of November.
Had Hibs lost that match, they’d have fallen 11 points behind the Glasgow outfit – a margin which many claimed would have all but ended the title race – but, instead, McGinn and his team-mates head for Ibrox a week today intent on going out alone at the top.
And the midfielder admitted he was possibly relishing the showdown more than many, a red card picked up against Falkirk having been rescinded to allow him not only to savour the win over Queens, but to contemplate the game of the season so far.
He said: “Players want to play in big games and I am no different. It’s a massive game and I didn’t want to miss it. I was delighted to be able to play against Queens and to be able to make a contribution after thinking I was going to be sitting it out.
“It was a massive result for us, a big statement. We didn’t play well but we have the quality. It was a brilliant cross from David Gray and a brilliant finish from Dom. It just shows the character in our dressing-room.”
Hibs, of course, were well aware of Rangers’ defeat by third-placed Falkirk – now only six points behind the two teams seen as favourites for the title – but, until substitute Malonga struck, it looked as if they were going to pass up the chance to go level.
McGinn said: “The manager said before the game it was really important for us to win. We’d have liked to have done it a bit easer, to have scored earlier. But the three points is all that matters.
“Even without the Rangers result this was a massive game for us because we can’t afford to drop any points. Now it’s a long build-up to the Ibrox game but we are all looking forward to it. We don’t fear anyone because we know if we play to our best we can win the game. Rangers will feel the same way so it’s going to be an immense match.
“We are a confident bunch and I’m sure the Rangers boys will be confident in themselves. But we have the momentum and now it’s just about making sure we hold on to that.”