Hibs great Keith Wright has revealed how a trip to the club’s training centre last weekend left him in no doubt over Alan Stubbs’ commitment to the Easter Road outfit.
Head coach Stubbs was this week again linked with a managerial vacancy down south as Championship outfit Reading became the latest club to be credited with an interest in the Englishman following Steve Clarke’s sacking last Friday.
Dismissing the reports as “speculation”, Stubbs reiterated his desire to continue his good work in the Capital and insisted he was fully focused on his task of securing promotion back to Scotland’s top-flight.
And former striker Wright, now an SFA development officer for Midlothian Council, has backed up those claims after witnessing Stubbs’ involvement at the club at their East Mains base last weekend.
“I was delivering a course for the SFA at East Mains last Sunday when it was pouring with rain and blowing a gale,” explained Wright.
“The Hibs Under-20s were training behind the astro pitch where I was with my guys from the course and there was Alan Stubbs running about as if he was a 20-year-old with a massive smile on his face.
“It tells me a lot that even when the first team aren’t in, he’s there working and having a look at the Under-20s, probably on his day off. So that shows where his loyalties are. He’s loving his time at Hibs.
“No doubt the fans will know in time he’ll move on to a bigger English club, but I’m sure he’s desperate to get the job done here and get us back into the top league.”
Hibs face two home matches over the next two weekends – Falkirk are first up before Queen of the South visit the Capital – as they sit three points behind leaders Rangers in the Ladbrokes Championship.
And Wright has urged the Easter Road faithful to roar their team to two victories ahead of the crunch meeting against Mark Warburton’s side at Ibrox on December 28.
With Christmas just a few weeks away, attendances can often drop at this time of year. Wright, though, is sure the Hibs fans will continue to back their team in numbers with crucial points up for grabs.
“The fans have been tremendous for the last couple of years,” said Wright, who netted over 50 goals for the club during a six-year spell.
“It’s probably been a bit unfair with the fixture list this season and the games they have been given so I’m sure it will be quite hard on the pocket for a lot of the fans. But I’m sure they will get themselves along and get right behind the team for the games with Falkirk and Queens.
“As a dad myself, I can understand it can be a costly time of year and families, of course, come first. So I’m looking at it from both camps but they are two massive games and, if the fans can get along as they have been doing since they’ve been in the Championship, then it would be a great boost for the players.”
Stubbs refused to write off Falkirk in the title race in an interview with the Evening News earlier this week, although he is confident his team can increase the gap between themselves and the Bairns to nine points with victory this weekend.
Wright, too, is wary of Saturday’s visitors, who will be eager to end their in-form opponents’ 15-match unbeaten run.
“Falkirk will fancy their chances, make no two ways about it,” said Wright.
“It’s going to be a big challenge but they’ll be coming to Easter Road looking to get a result. Alan has already said that Falkirk are a really good outfit so they’ll be wanting to keep up the challenge at the top for as long as possible.
“The Hibs players are going to have a lot to deal with over the next month or so but, with the form they’re in, the games can’t come quick enough.
I’m amazed they are now so close to Rangers right now after being eight points behind.
“It’s unbelievable how Hibs have turned it round and winning games where years gone by they’d probably draw or end up losing.
“They’ve just got to keep doing what they’ve been doing and, if they can with the matches against Falkirk and Queen of the South, then the match against Rangers will be one of the biggest in Hibs’ recent history.
“They can’t allow a gap to develop again and they are definitely good enough to go there in a couple of weeks time and win the game.”