Hibs boss Alan Stubbs has welcomed next season’s Scottish League Cup revamp but called for further changes to be considered.
The tournament will kick off in mid-July next year with a reintroduction of a group stage with BT Sport agreeing a four-year deal worth around £8 million to cover the competition.
However, pointing out that many clubs are likely to use that early stage of the League Cup as part of their pre-season preparations given the shortened break that will be afforded players, Stubbs believes clubs should be allowed to use more than three substitutes. The Easter Road head coach said: “I do applaud them for listening to the fans and trying to do something different because it’s easy to criticise when something does not go right. The fact is the SPFL are trying to open up the horizons, to try different ideas and they have to be commended for that.
“I think a few clubs will potentially use these games as part of their pre-season. using all their squad. At that time of year, you sometimes play two totally different teams for 45 minutes each, some players will play 60 minutes in a game and others 30 and then you reverse it around for the next one.
“So perhaps lifting the number of substitues that can be used at that stage is something to be looked at.”
Stubbs also said he’d like to learn how the change might impact on young players in regard to the loan system which restricts them to playing for only two clubs in a season. It’s not uncommon for youngsters to be farmed out to two different clubs but, unless the rule was relaxed, playing for their parent club in that initial stage of the competition would limit them to just one loan spell.
Pointing out that young players can sometimes leave on loan for a short period but find themselves, through circumstances beyond their control – such as the recent bad weather – playing only a game or two, Stubbs said: “We are talking about development and if, say, a young player played for Hibs he would only be able to be loaned out to one other club in the entire season. I would like the rules to be lifted to allow young players to go on a number of loans, it would be for the benefit of the young players.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs fully expects Liam Henderson to be in the squad for Saturday’s Championship clash with third-placed Falkirk, the midfielder having been “wiped out” by a viral infection three weeks ago. He said: “Liam has done very well. If anything, we’ve had to tailor training to make sure he does not do too much. He’s chomping at the bit to do more. He’s feeling much better, stronger and looking very much more like himself.”