ALAN STUBBS today insisted two impressive wins against Rangers don’t make Hibs favourites to win for a third time at Ibrox tomorrow night.
The Easter Road club scored seven goals in those matches, conceding just one and, with the Glasgow club in turmoil both on and off the pitch, many expect Stubbs’ players to win again and move into second place in the Championship table.
But Stubbs has dismissed any such thoughts, adamant the 3-1 and 4-0 victories Hibs enjoyed count for nothing and that it was “too simplistic” an approach to use those results as reason as to why they should emerge triumphant once more.
The head coach said: “I think people expect us to win but what we have done in the two previous games is not going to have a significant bearing on this match – it’s totally different.
“In the previous games [Hibs also faced Rangers in the Petrofac Training Cup] we have tried to focus on ourselves and I will sound like a broken record because it will be exactly the same this time.
“We are not worried about what is happening with Rangers on and off the pitch. We are going there to focus on what we know we can do to win a game of football. We’ve done that in every game we have played this season.
“People will be expecting us to win, but that’s not what I am saying. What I am expecting is us to go there and put on a performance and, if we do that, I know we can give Rangers problems.
“But I am also expecting a response from Rangers to last week. They have had a really bad time but they still have good players and are second in the league. They will come again. They are maybe suffering from a lack of confidence but Kenny (McDowall) will be doing his utmost to keep them in second position or, if he can, get that top spot from now until the end of the season.
“People sometimes don’t understand that the hardest thing is to win a game in football. They’ll look at us winning 3-1 and 4-0 and think it’s a matter of us just turning up to win the game.
“If it was as easy as that we’d all be doing different things. It’s easy to look at what is going on, on and off the pitch, and say we are going to try to capitalise on this or that but, if Rangers had our record of one defeat in 21, we’d still be going there with the same intent.
“I’ve said it all season, we go out to win every game. I am not interested in going to a stadium to try to draw a game or get out of there with a draw – we want to get three points.
“We’ll see how it unfolds. We want to start the game well and put Rangers under pressure from the first moment to the last.”
Rangers won’t learn until later today whether skipper Lee McCulloch will be available, the defender having decided to contest the offer of a two-match ban from the SFA’s compliance officer after being charged with deliberately standing on Dale Carrick as the on-loan Hearts forward helped Raith Rovers knock the Glasgow side out of the Scottish Cup.
A Judicial Panel will rule on the incident but, Stubbs insisted, whether or not McCulloch – a pivotal figure in McDowall’s team – plays, will have no bearing on his plans.
He said: “It doesn’t make one jot of difference to us. It may cause them some disruption in their defence but that’s not my problem.”