ALAN STUBBS today hailed his side’s defensive record as “exceptional”, with Hibs having conceded fewer league goals than any club in Britain.
The Easter Road outfit have lost just four goals in their opening eight Championship matches – leaders Rangers have lost five – and, when their League Cup run is taken into account, Stubbs’ side have clocked up a remarkable eight clean sheets in 12 competitive matches.
Calum Gallagher’s strike in the recent 1-1 draw St Mirren – incidentally the only one Hibs have conceded from open play in the league – ended a run of five games without losing a goal. However, they bounced back to beat Queen of the South 3-0 last weekend, making it seven games without defeat.
Stubbs said: “The players deserve a lot of credit. When the team gets a goal, the scorer gets the plaudits but it isn’t too often that the back four and goalkeeper get that. It’s a great reward for how hard they have worked over the last six or seven weeks.”
The 6-2 mauling Hibs suffered at the hands of Rangers in the Petrofac Training Cup will undoubtedly be cast up to take the gloss of Hibs’ defensive record but Stubbs openly admitted that game was a wake-up call for his players.
He said: “It was a bit of a reality check, a kick up the backside for everyone although we were affected by injuries and struggled to put out a starting eleven that day.
“There’s no getting away from the final result, I don’t want any of my teams to concede six goals but it was a nice reminder to us that we needed to do better.”
Hibs’ league campaign also got off to an indifferent start, Stubbs players losing 2-1 away to Dumbarton at a time when, in the head coach’s estimation, the Scott Allan transfer saga was an unwanted distraction.
Since then, Hibs have only lost two goals in nine matches, leading Stubbs to say: “We have been very hard to break down. As manager, I am pleased, but I am more pleased for the players that their hard work is being rewarded.
“To lose only four goals in eight league games is exceptional whatever way you look at it. It’s impressive – but we need to keep going and make sure it carries on.”