Alan stubbs has challenged his Hibs players to haul themselves into title contention by developing the same ruthless streak that has taken city rivals Hearts to the top of the Championship.
The Easter Road head coach had to endure a frustrating start to the season, with several encouraging displays being undermined by poor finishing or slack defending which let opponents off the hook. By contrast, the Jambos have been consistently capitalising on their dominance, collecting 19 points from a possible 21 and regularly knocking the stuffing out of the division’s supposed lesser lights.
However, buoyed by back-to-back away victories over Ross County in the League Cup and Rangers in the league, Stubbs senses that Hibs are now equipped to go on the type of run Hearts have enjoyed over the past two months.
“Hearts have started really well, there’s no doubt about that,” he told the Evening News. “They’ve made a really impressive start and we haven’t hit the ground running. They’ve probably dominated games the same way we have but the difference is that they have put the games to bed.
“Realistically, even accounting for one or two games where we didn’t deserve anything, we could have been sitting on 15 points, and I don’t think anyone could have begrudged us that. But I’m conscious of the reasons that that hasn’t happened. I’ve said all along that it was only a matter of time before our performance started to show in our results.
“The last two games haven’t surprised me at all. We’ve been threatening to get those results all season. As I’ve said before, though, you don’t win anything in the first two months of the season – you win things in the last two or three months of the season.”
Stubbs has called on Hibs to harness the new-found optimism from buoyant supporters and start strongly at home to Raith Rovers today. “It’s important that the players tap into the feelgood factor of the last two games,” he said.
“We’ve got two home games which give us a chance to build a little run of results and put ourselves right back in the mix.
“We don’t want things to go flat after the last two games so we need to keep the tempo high and the confidence flowing throughout the team.
“In the last two games, we’ve given ourselves a platform to build on by taking the lead and we’ve looked really composed and assured and never looked like panicking.”
Hibs have Dylan McGeouch available after suspension today, but vice-captain David Gray is struggling with a hamstring injury.