Alan Stubbs believes Hibs are “on the up” after putting the distraction of the Scott Allan transfer saga firmly behind them, the Easter Road outfit having now clocked up three straight wins without losing a goal.
Stubbs now has his sights on stretching that run to four by securing a first away win of the season against the Championship’s basement outfit Livingston tomorrow. Hibs have so far failed to win on the road, defeated by Dumbarton and Rangers, games which he believes his side should have taken some reward.
The head coach said: “We are building a bit of momentum in terms of results and performances. When you have a good group [of players] more often than not it’s just a matter of time before you put in a performance and the results will come.
“Our performance at Ibrox was good, at Dumbarton it was poor but, while I think we did not deserve to lose the game, we didn’t deserve to win it either.
“But that was when there was a lot of things going on off the pitch. We have moved on from then and it’s no coincidence results and performances have picked up.
“I spoke about the players getting distracted when there was no need for them to get distracted by it, that they should go out and to the business on the pitch and they have certainly done that over the last three or four weeks.
“There has been an incline in our performances in quality and tempo.”
Stubbs also believes his squad is now far better equipped, not just thanks to the influx of new players in and around transfer deadline day – former Hearts defender Adam Eckersley having become the latest arrival – but the return from injury of others.
He said: “We were having to play a little bit of catch-up because of a few injuries early on. To be honest, we were treading on eggshells a little bit with them, having to hold back with some of the training for fear of picking up another couple of injuries and that affected them, as in a little bit of sharpness.
“It’s a young squad. I like to have the right balance and blend of youth and experience but there’s no substitute for quality. I don’t mind if they are young or old. The only thing the young ones probably don’t have is experience, but give me talented players all day long and I am quite happy to work with them.”
Such is the strength of Stubbs’ squad now that he can happily cope with the loss of Fraser Fyvie and James Keatings to hamstring injuries, the midfielder likely to be out of action for another fortnight while the striker could be back in training as early as next week, his latest setback having proved to be “nothing too serious.”
Stubbs, though, is aware of the pitfalls of facing a team which has taken just one point so far, saying: “The incentives are there for both teams. From our aspect we want to keep picking up three points and we have started to improve week in, week out.
“Livingston will want to dig themselves away from the bottom. Their better results have been in the cups rather than the league but Mark [Burchill] will be wanting to address that as quickly as possible because the longer it goes on the more doubt it puts into the team and before you know it you are wondering where the next win is coming from.”
“But we aren’t looking at anyone but ourselves.”