Hibs boss Alan Stubbs today warned his stars that past efforts will count for nothing as he banks on those players in form to see the Easter Road outfit through the Premiership play-offs.
The Capital club begin a run of potentially six matches when they face Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park tonight, the second leg of the double-header to take place in Edinburgh on Saturday with Falkirk, who beat Hibs to second place in the Championship table, lying in wait next week for the winners.
But, as he eyed what could be a gruelling schedule of seven matches in just 20 days – when the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Rangers is thrown into the mix – Stubbs insisted his squad is now better placed to deal with those demands with the return to action of Fraser Fyvie, Liam Fontaine and Dylan McGeouch following lengthy injury lay-offs. Danny Carmichael could also make his comeback before Hibs’ push for promotion comes to an end while Stubbs has found himself able to rest key players such as skipper David Gray, his No.1 goalkeeper Mark Oxley, top scorer Jason Cummings and defender Darren McGregor in readiness for what is to come. He said: “The competition for places is really good at the moment – right through the squad. It’s strong again and it’s amazing how the levels of performance go up when everyone is fit. You want players to be looking over their shoulders and seeing guys who want their place. There have been times this season we haven’t had that option. We’ve had to go with what was available. But, apart from Dan and Farid El Alagui, we have everyone available for the most significant games. We’re going into games now when it’s not about what you’ve done – it’s about who is in form. That applies to everyone in the squad.” Meanwhile, Hibs have revealed that they’ve already sold 6000 season tickets despite fans not knowing which division the club will be playing in after the summer, a figure up ten per cent on the same stage last year. Tickets for the Scottish Cup final on May 21 went on sale today with existing season-ticket holders entitled to one each as are supporters who have bought a season ticket for next year while those who have bought theirs for both this season and next will be allowed to buy two briefs.
• OLI SHAW claimed a second-half hat-trick as Hibs completed their Development League season with an emphatic 4-0 win against Ross County at Ainslie Park after Adam Watson had opened the scoring for the Easter Road youngsters.