Alan Stubbs today insisted he’ll continue to chop and change his side as Hibs chase glory on three fronts but insisted: “I’m no tinkerman.”
The Easter Road head coach fielded a side almost unrecognisable to the one which had beaten Hearts in the Scottish Cup a few days earlier for the visit of Championship basement outfit Alloa Athletic.
In all, he made seven changes with just one enforced through Lewis Stevenson’s one-match ban but, having seen his new-look team clinch three points with a “professional” performance against the Wasps, Stubbs insisted he’d been vindicated.
Having come through a physically and mentally demanding run of games in the League Cup and Championship – not to mention those two Edinburgh derbies – and confronted with another four vital league games in just ten days before the Scottish Cup quarter-final against Inverness Caley four days later, Stubbs made full use of his squad.
But, he claimed, those changes weren’t made simply because relegation-threatened Alloa were the opposition. He said: “I didn’t have any problem making the changes. Some people would have looked and said ‘Oh, seven changes, if they don’t get a result here ...’
“I never had that thought in my mind. Because I know the players, I trust them, I know what they can do. That’s what makes it an easy decision when I do make changes.
“We’ve got a lot of games so we have to utilise the squad. We’ve got to chop and change when we feel there is an opportunity to do it.
“Some people will say we made seven changes because of the opposition. It wasn’t that. We were making the changes anyway.
“When you look back now, they were justified.
‘I thought we started well, did what we had to do – and were just more professional.”
And, with Hibs’ interest in three competitions continuing unabated, Stubbs revealed he will happily ring the changes as he sees fit.
He said: “I think we’ll have to make changes because we need the players as fresh as possible and, whether we like it or not, five games in 14 days is a huge ask for anyone and with that in mind we will look to try and utilise the squad as much and as well as we can.
“I’ve got a core of maybe 19 or 20 players who could all play in the starting 11. Normally your first-team squad is of 13 or 14 players – and the rest are squad players only.
“I can’t say that about this group – they could all play in the team. Which is great.
“They’ve all been playing for a starting position from day one – it’s because the ones that have predominantly been there have done so well. When you’re in the team you have to go and perform. There’s a really good focus amongst the group. They can see themselves what is potentially ahead of them. When you’ve got that there, they’re all waiting for an opportunity. The last thing you want is giving a player and opportunity and he doesn’t take it. They all certainly performed against Alloa.”
However, Stubbs insisted: “I’m not a tinkerman, no. I’m certainly not a tinkerman.”