Alan Stubbs admits he’ll miss seeing Ally McCoist in the away dug-out at Easter Road on Saturday, but insisted his absence won’t make “one jot of difference” to the crunch Championship clash.
McCoist, pictured, was put on “gardening leave” by the Rangers board rather than being allowed to see out the 12 remaining months on his contract after he handed in his notice, a move which has led to his assistant Kenny McDowall being tasked with overseeing the team for the rest of the season.
The Ibrox side will arrive in Edinburgh possibly trailing table-topping Hearts by 12 points depending on the outcome of the Jambos’ match against Cowdenbeath tonight, with Hibs aiming to trim the seven-point gap between them and the troubled Glasgow outfit. Stubbs intends to ensure his players’ entire focus is on clocking up a third successive win, which would pull them within four points of Rangers, but he revealed his sympathy for McCoist.
He said: “I like Ally, I respect him and think he is a great lad. I get on well with him. I’m really sorry to see him go and I’ll try to contact him over the next few days or week or two to have a chat, hopefully he’ll be back in football as soon as possible.
“However, what is going on at Rangers has no bearing on us – it won’t make one jot of difference. We are at home and it’s going to be a great game.
“At the beginning of the season Rangers were everyone’s favourites to go up but we have done okay against them. They beat us in extra time in the Petrofac Cup in our first game of the season but we went there and beat them in the league.
“It’s going to be tough on Saturday, no doubt about it. They have some quality players, international players who have come for good money so we certainly won’t be under-estimating them.
“We’ll focus on ourselves and if we perform to the levels we can reach, we will have a chance to beat them.”
Meanwhile Stubbs is hoping the fact Jordon Forster had keyhole surgery to remove his appendix will speed up the defender’s return.
The head coach said: “Keyhole surgery is less invasive so hopefully we might have him back training within two weeks.”