ALAN STUBBS today stood by his claim that Hibs deserved to be in the Scottish Cup final in the face of a furious attack by victorious Falkirk boss Peter Houston.
The Bairns manager was outraged at Stubbs’ after-match comments following the Capital club’s semi-final defeat, advising his rookie counterpart that he should concentrate his attention on learning how to deal with crosses such as that which led to Craig Sibbald’s winner.
Stubbs, however, insisted he’d done nothing wrong while pointing out he’d actually wished Falkirk good luck in the final where they will now play Inverness Caley Thistle, surprise winners over treble-chasing Celtic.
The Easter Road head coach said: “I honestly thought with our performance that we played well enough to be in the final. I don’t see anything wrong with that. But, listen, the facts of the matter are that we’re not in the final. Everyone in the press room witnessed me saying ‘good luck’ to Falkirk. I didn’t see that come out. It was my honest opinion that I felt we had done enough in the game to get into the final. I don’t think anyone would deny that or say I was talking gibberish.”
Houston, whose team have now beaten Hibs three times this season, all by a single goal, while coming back from 3-1 at Easter Road to draw, had also said: “Every game we have played against them this season Alan’s team has deserved to win – according to Alan”, an observation which prompted Stubbs to retort: “I think you need to ask Peter what he said when he came into my office when we got beat 1-0 in the first game. It certainly was not what he said in the press.”
And, as far as Houston’s assertion that Stubbs would be better served addressing his side’s apparent inability to defend crosses, at least where Falkirk are concerned as he pointed out all six scored against Hibs have come that way, the former Celtic and Everton defender said: “Peter is a really experienced manager, one that I respect and I’ll take his comments on board about how he scores against us. I’m obviously learning. This is my first season but I’m not doing too badly. Our goals for is the third best in the table, our goals against is the second best. We have a goal difference that is plus 27 compared to Falkirk. When you put that up against a real experienced manager and novice, then I’m doing okay.”
Asked if he felt conceding goals from crosses was, in fact, a weakness as far as Hibs were concerned, Stubbs replied: “I need to be careful what I say here. I think we all concede goals from crosses.
“I think if Peter looks at his own team here, they have conceded a lot of goals from crosses as well. Whether it is crosses or open play, that’s football. You score goals in different ways. We have scored more than most this season. I won’t change, but I will take his comments on board. It is up to Peter if he wants to state that. I did not say anything about Peter’s team.”
Despite the spat, Stubbs insisted he enjoyed a good relationship with Houston, saying: “I don’t see why it should change. We are emotional. You say things after games in the heat of the moment when you have a microphone stuck under you straightaway. I won’t change. I still have a lot of respect for Peter and what he has done. It’s funny the way football works. People will make something of it and what has happened. But, for someone who is so inexperienced, I am not soft.”