ALAN STUBBS has revealed he decided on his starting line-up for Tuesday’s Petrofac Training Cup clash with Rangers in the immediate aftermath of the Easter Road club’s final pre-season match.
The head coach had flagged up the friendly against East Fife as a last chance for players to book their seats on the coach for Ibrox as he used the match to allow a number of them to top up their game time.
But a number of players who would expect to be in the starting line-up at Ibrox, including club skipper Liam Craig, Scott Robertson, Paul Hanlon, Alex Harris, David Gray, Danny Handling and Lewis Stevenson, took a seat on the bench as trialist Michael Richardson – who won’t be offered a contract – and youngsters Aaron Dunsmore, Callum Crane and Lewis Allan enjoyed a run-out alongside new signings Mark Oxley and Scott Allan.
And Stubbs saw enough during the 90 minutes of the no-scoring draw to make an immediate decision on who’ll be pulling on a green jersey in Glasgow. He said: “I know my team now, I’m very clear. As long as nothing happens from now to Tuesday I know my team and we’re going to work on it over the next few days, a few finishing touches.”
In the last of Hibs’ six pre-season games, Paul Heffernan made his first appearance of the summer, replacing 17-year-old Lewis Allan for the final 24 minutes.
Stubbs was delighted to see the Irishman back in action having finally shaken off a thigh injury. He said: “It’s been a frustrating time for him over the past few weeks because he has been itching to get back. But because of his injury we’ve just been a bit more cautious.
“It was great for us to be able to give him those 20 minutes or so. It gave Paul a lift. You could see he had that little spring in his step being back among the lads.”
While he admits much work remains to be done, Stubbs believes much progress has been made after the trauma of relegation. He said: “Rome wasn’t built in a day but we’ve been trying to build Rome in a day. I think it’s there for people to see, the strides that we have made in such a short space of time.”