Jordon Forster has claimed Hibs could deliver a psychological hammer blow to their Championship title rivals if they beat Dundee United at Tannadice on Friday night.
The Easter Road side travel to Tayside boasting a healthy lead at the top of the table despite managing just three points from their last four league matches but, Forster insisted, clinching a place in the Scottish Cup semi-finals has given the confidence of Neil Lennon’s players a timely boost.
Cup holders Hibs will face Aberdeen in that semi-final but, before their latest Hampden outing, they have seven league matches to play – starting with United who currently sit seven points behind but with a game in hand while Falkirk have edged into second place albeit having played one match more than the Edinburgh club and two more than Ray McKinnon’s side.
While admitting Hibs hadn’t played as well as they would have liked on their previous visit to Tannadice, beaten in early December by Tony Andreu’s penalty after Martin Boyle had missed from the spot, Forster, said: “The focus is on the league, 100 per cent. The semi-final will take care of itself. We’ve got a big chance to win the Scottish Cup, to retain it, and regardless of who we’d got people will look on us as underdogs although we know what we can do.
“But Friday is the big one for us. People might try to play it down, but it’s a massive game. We can go there and put a real marker down for the rest of the season. Psychologically, it could be massive.”
While promotion remains the over-riding priority for Hibs in this their third successive season in Scotland’s second tier, manager Neil Lennon has told his players there’s no reason why they can’t “go for it” on both fronts.
He said: “You just want to play games. As a player, you want to be in every competition and I’ve said to the players why not go for it.
“We have put ourselves in a great position and into the semi-final of the cup.”
And Lennon insisted his players should be proud of what they have achieved so far given the injury problems his squad have encountered throughout the season.
He told Hibs TV: “We’ve done it without our goalkeeper [Ofir Marciano] for large parts of the season. We’ve had three central midfielders out in the one period and three centre halves out at the same time.
“The squad can be very proud of what they have done so far. But we have done nothing yet. We still have a bit of work to do.”