Rangers boss Stuart McCall insists he will not fall for Alan Stubbs’ mind games.
Rangers take a two-goal lead to Easter Road after Wednesday’s home victory but Stubbs has tried to turn the heat up ahead of this play-off semi-final second leg by claiming that “2-0 is probably the most vulnerable scoreline in football”.
McCall made it clear he is happy to be heading into the match in Rangers’ position.
He said: “That is possibly what I would be saying (in Stubbs’ position) and it might be right.
“But I’m sure if you ask Alan he would rather be up 2-0. I take his point, you hear pundits saying that 2-0 is always a dodgy score but I’d rather be going in 2-0 up than 2-0 down.”
Rangers head east with a vital advantage after Nicky Clark and Kenny Miller put them in front. But Stubbs will hope they will be hit by indecision. However, McCall said: “There will be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and we might be thinking ‘what if we sit in?’ or ‘but what if we concede a goal?’. Likewise Alan and Hibs might think if they come out all guns blazing they might get caught on the counter.
“It is not mind games but all the emotions the team, supporters and coaches will go through in the 90 minutes. My philosophy will be that we have to defend well but we need to carry an attacking threat and we can’t sit in and give up ground or territory. We’re going there to hopefully score a goal which would mean they need to get at least three.”
Stubbs provided a spiky response after Wednesday’s first leg when it was suggested his side had been intimidated by the 41,000-strong Glasgow crowd. Hibs have already blown their chance at reaching this year’s William Hill Scottish Cup final after defeat by Falkirk in the semis, while there are still a handful of his squad who let a 2-0 play-off final lead slip last season to be relegated by Hamilton.
McCall said: “It is rubbish about Hibs being bottlers, I think that is nonsense because they were unlucky in the cup semi-final and the other night they performed well and there wasn’t a lot in it.”