DAVID WOTHERSPOON says Hibs’ boys will have to become men if they are to see off Dunfermline in the battle for SPL survival.
The Easter Road side take on Motherwell at home tomorrow, while bottom side the Pars play host to Hearts this afternoon.
Hibs managed to open up a six-point gap on the East End Park side last weekend with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Inverness, and Wotherspoon knows they will have to dig just as deep again this weekend.
There are a number of youngsters in Pat Fenlon’s squad, along with eight players who joined the club on loan in January, and Wotherspoon says they all need to stand together as a unit to ensure survival in the top flight.
Admitting that the last few weeks have seen Hibs open games with a sense of trepidation, Wotherspoon said: “I suppose you do sense a bit of nerves and fear going into the games but I think the boys are experienced enough to handle it. The situation we’re in, we need to be men and fight our battle.
“Motherwell are fighting for second place, they had a wee set-back against Rangers. Hopefully we can be on our game, because in the past they’ve been tight.”
Wotherspoon was left out of the team for the trip to Inverness last weekend but, after playing the full 90 minutes of a bounce game against St Mirren in midweek, is hoping to be involved against the Steelmen.
While the match against Motherwell will be foremost in their minds, Wotherspoon conceded that it would represent a huge about-turn in Hibs’ fortunes if they could make through to the Scottish Cup final.
Tomorrow’s game will be followed by a semi-final clash with Aberdeen at Hampden next Saturday and Wotherspoon says reaching the showpiece final would be a great way to end a disappointing season on a high.
“We have that ahead of us and it would be a great turnaround for the season if we could make the final and secure our place in the SPL,” he said. “That would be a great end to the season. We play this game tomorrow, get confidence out of it, hopefully get a victory.
The season hasn’t been great, 2011 was pretty awful for us all but we’ve come through and come through it together and hopefully we can push on.”
Wotherspoon, like the majority of his team-mates, will be listening to coverage of the Dunfermline game today but he stressed Hibs must focus on the job in hand as Stuart McCall’s men head for the Capital tomorrow lunchtime.
“The result against Inverness last week was a great result for the boys, the gaffer said it would be a great feeling if we managed to get the win after Dunfermline lost and thankfully we did.
“We’ll be keeping an eye on their result but we have to focus on our game. That win did ease the pressure a wee bit but there is still a lot to play for, we have six tough games ahead.” The post-split fixtures have paired Hibs with Dunfermline in the second-last game of the season but Wotherspoon is hoping that the match is meaningless by that stage: “The ideal scenario would be that the Dunfermline game does not matter when we head into it. That would be ideal. Hopefully, we can get the wins we need and we’ll get there.” Wotherspoon sat in the stand at the Caledonian Stadium last weekend and, although he concurred that their first-half performance was far from satisfactory, he was impressed by the spirit his team-mates showed after the break to come back claim a vital 3-2 victory.
“I was watching the game and it was a bit scrappy at times. Inverness had one-on-one chances and they could have put us to bed but the boys showed great spirit.
“In games where we have gone behind, we don’t look the most confident of getting back into the game but we seemed to dig in and the boys really did well.
“The fans that have been behind us have really given us a lift a times.”