Alan Stubbs today joked that he hopes Raith Rovers boss Ray McKinnon will be sick of the sight of him after Hibs drew the Kirkcaldy club in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.
Stubbs’ players have already defeated Raith home and away this season, becoming the first club to win a Championship match at Stark’s Park and now face a double-header against the Fife outfit in the first few days of the new year.
Hibs, currently on a 15 match unbeaten run, play Raith in Edinburgh in their first match of 2016 on January 2 and will cross the Forth the following weekend for what Stubbs admitted will be a tough test for his players.
Stubbs, who watched as Hibs became the last side to be drawn out of the hat, said: “It got to the stage we were wondering who was still in it. They made us wait to the very end to find we’ll be playing a team we are familiar with, although that will be the same for Raith.
“It will be a bit strange, playing them at home in the league the week before we play them in the Scottish. We’ve got the upper hand at the moment and hopefully it gets to the stage Ray is sick of seeing me – from a football point of view.
“However, the fact we have got two wins against them counts for nothing, but we definitely know a lot about each other. I don’t think you’d ever get tired to playing the same team the following week if you are winning ,but since we came to the club the one thing we have done is tried to change the mentality and now we have fans turning up expecting us to win, there’s that bit of confidence when we are approaching games.”
The trip to Kirkcaldy, most probably on Saturday, January 9, will be the first cup tie Hibs have played away from home since beating Alloa Athletic at the Indodrill Stadium at the end of November last year.
But while he’d have liked to have seen the luck of the draw continue to favour his side, Stubbs, with his side already in the semi-finals of the League Cup, said: “To win competitions you have to go away from home somewhere along the line.
“But if it means going away from home and going all the way then I’d take that all day long.”
Having made the semi-final of the Scottish Cup last season, Hibs fans will obviously be hoping to go one step further this time round, Stubbs insisted they had to take the competition one game at a time.
The head coach said: “Raith is going to be a very tough match to win. Their home form is very good. It’s even more a case of taking it one game at a time in the cup – you never know who you are going to get. If you win you are then waiting in anticipation to find out who your next opponents are going to be, that’s what makes cup football so great.”
The draw threw up two all Premiership clashes with Capital rivals Hearts at home to Aberdeen and St Johnstone hosting Kilmarnock and another five drawn away, leaving Stubbs to observe: “If you don’t get one of them early on it will happen later, but when big teams are up against each other it means things can open up a little.”