HIBS’ attention turns to the League Cup tonight and the visit of Stranraer. On paper, at least, the Easter Road side would seem to have a relatively straightforward task ahead of them.
Despite a stunning win at home to top-flight side Ross County in the last round, the Stair Park side languish second bottom of League One, having just notched their first league victory of the season against East Fife on Saturday.
All the evidence suggests a second home win on the bounce for Pat Fenlon’s side following last weekend’s 2-0 success over St Mirren, but Scott Robertson insists Hibs won’t take their foot off the gas as they look to embark on another cup run.
With victory tonight, Hibs would book their place in the quarter-finals of the competition and move just one step away from a possible return to Hampden.
Fenlon’s team have been to the national stadium four times over the past two seasons – all in the Scottish Cup – although ultimately they have returned empty-handed in the finals.
Robertson would love Hibs to finally secure some silverware after a six-year wait, but knows there is a lot of hard work ahead of them tonight before they can start dreaming of Hampden glory.
“It is going to be a tough match and I am sure that Stranraer will be coming here in a good frame of mind,” said midfielder Robertson.
“They’ll be out to make it as difficult as they can for us but, hopefully, if we can go about our business in a similar manner to the game against St Mirren, we can get the right result.
“The club has had quite a bit of success in recent seasons getting to Hampden and, if we could get back there again, it could be setting us up for a good season. The manager said at the start of the season he is aiming for the top six and anything above that, like a good run in the cup competitions, is a bonus.”
The Stranraer match kicks off a tough run of matches for Hibs over the next few weeks. Tonight’s cup-tie is closely followed by the trip to Inverness on league business and clashes with Partick Thistle, Celtic and then Aberdeen take up the remainder of the month of October.
Robertson is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead and is hoping for a decent run of results in all of those games.
“We’ve only lost three goals in our last five matches and we’re unbeaten in them all,” he said.
“We’re on a little run of form and we are climbing up the league, too, but we know that we have got some very tough games coming up over the next few weeks in the league.
“Once the game against Stranraer is over, we have then got Inverness, Partick Thistle, Celtic and Aberdeen. Three of those four are above us in the league and Thistle are right behind us.
“We know that we have got to perform as well as we can in all of the competitions this season and hopefully we can give it a good go.”
Hibs should go into the cup match with something of a spring in their step having recorded their first home league win of this season – and only their second at Easter Road in 2013 – with their weekend win over Saints.
James Collins and Paul Heffernan were both on the scoresheet to secure a confidence-boosting victory, but Robertson felt his side could have made it an even more resounding result.
He and fellow midfielder Liam Craig both had chances to extend the advantage over the Paisley side, as did Collins and strike partner Heffernan.
While disappointed not to weigh in with a goal of his own, Robertson admitted his side were just delighted to be back on track on their home patch.
“I think that we were pleased with the performance as much as we were the result,” he conceded.
“We were the dominant team throughout and I think that we could have won with a heftier scoreline – particularly if players like myself had just shown a bit more composure in front of goal.
“We had a few chances other than the goals and I don’t think we really felt under pressure at any point.”
Robertson was one of Hibs’ most impressive performers in a decent display against a side which is admittedly struggling at the wrong end of the Premiership table.
He is loving linking up with new strike duo Heffernan and Collins, and would love to become a regular contributor to the goals-scored column, adding: “The last two weeks, Paul and James have both managed to score a goal each. They seem to be working well off one another.
“They are creating chances for one another – and for other players in the side, too.
“I could have had a couple of goals myself at the weekend, just through everyone else in the team’s good play.
“It was disappointing for me not to be on the scoresheet, simply because of the number of chances we created.
“Every game I have played in this season – and Saturday was my fifth game – I’ve had several chances in each of them.
“I have only managed to score one goal, which is really disappointing, because I want to add some goals to my game.
“I have not missed the target, I don’t think. It’s just been a case of the keeper saving it, hitting the post, or someone blocking it.
“I just want to keep improving every week and maybe get into double figures for goals. I have never managed that in a single season.
“That aspect is something I would like to change, but, in general, I am happy with my own performances and with the way that the team has been playing lately.”