Alan Stubbs today urged his players to take the race for second place in the Championship down to the wire after Hibs bounced back from their Scottish Cup heartache to turn up the heat on Rangers.
A convincing 3-1 win over basement outfit Livingston cut the gap on the Ibrox outfit to just one point with only two games to play but Stubbs knows last night’s victory will count for nothing if they fail against Alloa Athletic on Saturday.
Asked if he was hoping Falkirk, the winners of that Hampden semi-final, might do his side a favour at the weekend when they take on Rangers, the Easter Road head coach said: “As long as we win our game we’ll then see how other results turn out.
“As long as we win our game then it is going right down to the wire.”
After the disappointment of losing to the Bairns, Stubbs was delighted with the reaction he got from his players but insisted he had not expected anything less.
He said: “They could easily have felt sorry for themselves and for there to have been a bit of a hangover but I thought the way we went about things was good on a difficult pitch.
“Maybe at times we over-elaborated or made the wrong decision but in the main we tried to play, everyone did their job.”
Hibs got of to a dream start with Scott Robertson’s sixth goal of the season after just seven minutes only for Myles Hippolyte to equalise for the Lions, their joy short-lived as Jason Cummings put the Capital outfit ahead again within 60 seconds with his 18th strike of the campaign.
A second yellow card for Livingston defender Darren Cole before half-time left Mark Burchill’s side with an uphill battle and although goalkeeper Darren Jamieson saved a Dylan McGeouch penalty to give the travelling fans some measure of concern, substitute Dominique Malonga secured the points to leave the Lions still firmly rooted to the foot of the table.
Stubbs said: “The sending off took the sting out of the game for them. We were in more control and probably could have won it 3-1 a lot earlier than we did.
“But even after they equalised I still felt we would create chances and scoring right after it was obviously a good thing.
“Livingston showed a lot of spirit as their recent results suggested they would, they are fighting for their lives but to have won the way we did makes it a great result.”