Tel: Heat’s all on Killie for last-day showdown

Ryan McGivern, left, and Lewis Stevenson trudge off after last night's defeat. Pic: DAVID LAMB

Ryan McGivern, left, and Lewis Stevenson trudge off after last night's defeat. Pic: DAVID LAMB

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A DEFIANT Terry Butcher remains confident Hibs will escape the trauma of a relegation play-off scrap – insisting the pressure is all on Saturday’s opponents Kilmarnock.

Butcher’s men passed up the chance to secure their Scottish Premiership status on the penultimate day of the season, as a Richie Brittain penalty gave Ross County victory in last night’s clash in Dingwall and assured the home side of top-flight football again next season.

And now – having won just one of their last 17 league matches – they face a nail-biting 90 minutes in front of their own fans who, Butcher claimed, can roar them to the victory they so badly need. Butcher insisted an air of positivity will envelop Easter Road over the coming days, adding: “We had two bites at the cherry – failed with the first one, but we have another and we are going to take it.

“It’s about being positive and having a go. We have the home support, we’ve had two excellent performances at home, so there’s no worries about playing there and playing well. That’s something we have to do.”

Ahead of Killie’s home clash with St Mirren tonight, Butcher said: “The pressure is not on us. The pressure is on Kilmarnock. That’s for sure, no matter the results tonight.”

Adamant there was “nothing between the teams” last night, the Hibs boss said: “We had good opportunities at the start of the game and towards the end as well. I know it’s an old cliche, but the luck has certainly not gone with us when it comes to balls in the opposition’s penalty box.

“We’ve made it difficult for ourselves, getting into this situation but we can redeem all that with a win on Saturday. It’s a must-win game but we are in front of our home crowd and our last two performances at home have been very good.

“We will have a big support and they will get behind the boys because we need that now. We know the situation, there’s no margin for error. We want to have a go, we are already looking forward to it because we know what is at stake and what we have to do.”

Despite the disappointment of losing for the first time in four clashes with Derek Adams’ side, Butcher said: “I have always been confident. I thought we would get out of it before now but that was not to be. We have enough there that we can get ourselves out of it but it is certainly going to take brave men, courage and we have to make sure that we definitely do the business.”

Butcher’s faith in his struggling squad remains unshaken, the manager saying: “I am confident we have the players who can play well and even although we lost last night there was nothing between the teams.

“We have done particularly well in our last three games but have only taken one point out of nine so it hurts.”