Stubbs left ‘baffled’ by Hibs’ three defeats in a row

Alan Stubbs looks on at Palmerston Park last night

Alan Stubbs looks on at Palmerston Park last night

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Hibs boss Alan Stubbs has admitted to being “baffled” at how his side have lost three successive matches, claiming they could easily have won each of the games.

A 1-0 defeat at Queen of the South last night, hard on the heels of losses to Morton and Dumbarton, have left the Easter Road club trailing Championship leaders Rangers by 14 points, putting an end to their hopes of winning the title and automatic promotion.

But Stubbs revealed he was “feeling” for his players, believing they hadn’t got what they deserved from those games. He said: “Obviously, I am frustrated. We have had three games in a week where I could easily have been saying we’ve had a great week.

“That’s the fine margins in football.”

A goal from on-loan Rangers player Andy Murdoch earned Queens victory from a match which Stubbs insisted his side had controlled but also one in which, he admitted, they hadn’t taken their chances.

He said: “How we haven’t taken anything from the game is baffling. We controlled the game, had good opportunities but unfortunately we are then hit by a suckerpunch and we’ve come off thinking how have they won 1-0. It was a tough pill to swallow. I actually do not think they are playing badly, we are just getting punished and decisions are on the wrong side for them.

“I feel for them because they are certainly putting a lot of effort in. Look at the chances we had, their goalkeeper has palmed a few out, he’s had a couple of decent saves but we need to be putting them away when we are on top. Take your chances and you give yourself a great chance to win the game. We were on top for large periods but we didn’t capitalise.”

Stubbs conceded overhauling Rangers with only nine games remaining would be “very difficult” but insisted his side would keep going, adamant that as quickly as Hibs’ form has shaded – they’d previously only lost one game in 28 – it would turn back in their favour.

And, with a Scottish Cup quarter-final against Inverness Caley on Sunday to be followed by the League Cup final with Ross County, he said: “Next week could be a great week for us – unfortunately we’ve had a disappointing week.”

Stubbs confirmed that Paul Hanlon will miss the cup final having been injured at Dumbarton. The defender is expected to be out for a month after a scan revealed a tear in his right thigh but that, insisted the head coach, was better news than first feared.

He said: “It’s a blow for Paul but it could have been a lot more serious so it is good news and bad news but, in the long term and what it could have been, this is possibly the best news he could have asked for.”