McLeish: Hibs win would rival Leicester

Alex McLeish
Alex McLeish
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FORMER Hibs and Rangers manager Alex McLeish believes Alan Stubbs would do well to spend the week brainwashing his players into believing they can bring the trophy back to Leith for the first time since 1902, an achievement he would rate alongside Leicester City winning the Barclays Premier League this season.

Stubbs’ side are trying to recover from their Ladbrokes Premiership semi-final play-off defeat to Falkirk on Friday night where they went out to a last-gasp goal from Bob McHugh which sent the Bairns into the final on a 5-4 aggregate. They take on Championship winners Rangers in the showpiece end to the season on Saturday.

McLeish, who lost the final with the Hibees in 2001 and won it with Rangers in 2002 and 2003, said: “As the week unfolds Alan Stubbs will be working on his players’ confidence and belief and has got to try to get it out of their head by Tuesday or Wednesday and really focus on producing an incredible result.

“It would be of Leicester City proportions if he could do it.

“My approach to it would be to give Hibs every bit of brainwashing that I could, to highlight the evidence of the games that they have done really well against Rangers throughout the season.

“That is what he must focus on. Alan will have his own ideas – he might have that idea as well – but certainly he will do it his own way and it makes for a pretty intriguing final.”

McLeish also believes Rangers should sign veteran English midfielder Joey Barton. The former Manchester City and current Burnley midfielder is in talks with the Glasgow club.

“It is a really interesting one,” he said. “I heard it from a taxi driver last night and I said, ‘Och, I’ve heard all these stories before, it will be a lookalike or something’.

“But that would be a very ambitious signing and I think he would bring a lot to Rangers.

“I know Joey well. He is a fiery character and he will probably do it in a tactical way now.

“I am sure there will still be a red card or two in there somewhere but I am also pretty positive that it would be a kind of controlled aggression that he would produce.”