Alan Stubbs today claimed Hibs were never in danger of dropping points against Dumbarton despite Ian Murray’s side trimming a three-goal lead to just one.
The Easter Road outfit appeared to have the game comfortably won thanks to a three-goal blitz from Scott Allan, Dominique Malonga and Paul Hanlon in just seven first-half minutes, but their Championship rivals hit back with strikes from Chris Kane and Andy Graham, only for Malonga to stretch Hibs’ lead again with a 30-yard thunderbolt.
Garry Fleming, however, sent the nerves of the travelling support from Edinburgh jangling by making it 4-3, before Sammy Stanton notched a fifth for Hibs, with Malonga completing his hat-trick five minutes from time to take his tally to nine goals from just 11 starts.
But, while admitting he wasn’t happy to have conceded three goals, Stubbs was adamant it would be wrong not to concentrate on the “magnificent” six his side had scored as they clocked up a fifth successive away win.
And if the nerve of the fans was tested, Stubbs was adamant victory was never in doubt, although former Hibs skipper Murray claimed he felt his players could not only have equalised, but might have gone on to win the game if they had done so.
Stubbs said: “I do not think I’d be doing the team justice to talk just about the ones we conceded because some of the goals we scored were that good.
“I’d have liked us to have won 6-0 but it’s not easy when you have a team that’s popping balls into the box where they have a 6ft 4in striker and a couple of other big ones. I would have liked us to have dealt with it better, but they were going to get opportunities.”
Stubbs revealed he had spoken of complacency during the interval, believing that at 3-0 the game had “become too easy” for one or two of his players as they began to over-elaborate, but he hailed the character of his side in being able to step up another couple of gears as they responded to the threat of Dumbarton.
He said: “I actually did not think they were going to pull it back to level. I felt as if it was just a kick up the backside. Every time they scored we responded, which was great, but I’d like to see us respond at 3-0 rather than 3-2 and 4-3.”
Stubbs also disclosed that Malonga had returned from his first stint on international duty on a high having helped Congo reach the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations, the striker having only reported back to East Mains the day before.
He said: “Dominique was fresh, happy and with a real spring in his step.
“He has a really languid, laid-back style but once he gets onto the pitch he comes to life. He has been a really good signing.