Alan Stubbs has called on Hibs’ critics to judge his team at the end of the season – not after six games.
The Easter Road side languish second bottom of the Championship ahead of tonight’s trip to title challengers Rangers after both Falkirk and Dumbarton leapfrogged them at the weekend.
Hibs had hoped to be gunning for promotion this season, but, after losing four of their six league games so far, they find themselves a whopping 13 points behind leaders Hearts and just three points above bottom-of-the-table Cowdenbeath.
While the league table doesn’t make for pleasant reading for the Hibees, head coach Stubbs feels, after adding nine new players over the summer, he has assembled a squad which is perfectly capable of banishing the early-season gloom by surging into promotion contention over the next 30 games.
“It’s a long season – we should be judged over a season, not over six games,” he told the Evening News. “We were never the favourites anyway.
“The most important thing is where we are at the end of the season – not where we are at the beginning.
“I believe it’s only a matter of time before we click on a consistent basis. Football is all about fine margins and, as I’ve said all along, we’ve not necessarily got the results we felt we deserved.
“We’re looking to redress that balance and turn things in our favour. As long as we continue to do the right things more often than not, we’ll give ourselves the best chance possible of winning games.”
Hibs are seven points adrift of second-place Rangers, who remain title favourites. Stubbs, however, refuses to bill tonight’s match as “make-or-break” with regard to his side’s faint hopes of winning the league.
“Every game’s important so I’m not going to put extra stock on the Rangers one,” he said. “I don’t categorise any one bigger than the other apart from possibly the local derby. Some clubs are bigger than others, but there’s the same emphasis on winning any game regardless of who you’re playing.
Going to Dumbarton or going to Ibrox shouldn’t be viewed as any different in terms of importance. You might need a different mentality to go to those two places, but you’re still always going there looking for three points.”
Stubbs is hoping a return to Ibrox can conjure a repeat of the dominant display Hibs managed for long periods of the Petrofac Training Cup tie last month before they eventually succumbed in extra-time after a Danny Handling red card took the sting out of their challenge.
“When you go to the big stadiums, you need to rise to the challenge,” said the head coach. “There’ll be a big crowd there and it can be intimidating. We’ve already been there once and acquitted ourselves well. We’ll look to do the same this time, but hopefully with a different outcome.”