TIM CLANCY admitted today that Hibs have a lot of ground to make up with their supporters after their Scottish Communities League Cup defeat by Queen of the South – and he’s hoping today’s trip to Parkhead can provide the perfect pick-me-up.
The Easter Road outfit travel to Glasgow to face the SPL champions on league business, just days after crashing out of the cup competition to the Second Division side.
While a game against Celtic will prove one of the toughest of tests for Pat Fenlon’s men, Clancy believes that a good result in the East End of Glasgow could also send their confidence soaring once again.
Clancy knows that the Hoops will be the bookies’ favourites, but is keen to upset the odds, and said: “Every game that Celtic play this season, whether it is home or away, they will be favourites.
“We would have been favourites on Tuesday night, but if you don’t approach the game right or don’t get to the levels you know you can, anyone can beat anyone else.
“We had a chat after the game on Tuesday night and it obviously wasn’t the result or the performance that we were hoping for.
“I don’t know what exactly went wrong. We can’t put our finger on it, but Queen of the South performed well, they worked really hard. They scored a couple of good goals, with two good finishes. But we are not happy.
“We let ourselves down and the fans especially and we want to right our wrongs against Celtic.
“Our league form in the previous games, the level we were at, our workrate and our results, just dipped a bit on Tuesday night.
“I suppose that is a bit of a wake-up call that we have got to compete at the same level, the same intensity and play to the same standard, to get results no matter who you are playing.
“You have got to learn from these things and the players have all spoken about what happened and we will take the whole experience with us and hopefully move on to better results in the future.”
While Hibs have been on something of a downer this week, Celtic sit firmly on the other side of the coin, having been crowned SPL champions last season, won two of their opening three games of this campaign and this week progressed to the group stages of the Champions League.
And Clancy conceded that seeing not only Celtic but also Hearts and his old club, Motherwell, compete in Europe this week has whetted his appetite to be involved on the big stage himself next season.
This year, more than any other in recent memory, offers a number of clubs the prospect of European football following Rangers’ demotion to the Third Division.
There are places up for grabs, and Clancy continued: “There have been a lot of good games. Motherwell have done a lot of travelling and had a lot of new experiences, Dundee United did well at home in their game, and we obviously look at that and, while it’s not something we have spoken about as a team, you want to experience that yourself.
“We know that, if you put a run of games together, then you could be in with a shout. As the games go on, we’ll see how things settle down and where everyone is. But after the split if we’re still in there, that’s great.”
Clancy was playing for Motherwell when Celtic handed a debut to Tony Watt towards the end of last season and the 17-year-old got the better of him that day, banging home two goals as the Glasgow side went on to claim a 3-0 victory.
The Irishman rates Watt highly and said of the young hitman, who also netted in the win over Inverness last weekend: “I actually played against him at Motherwell when he made his debut. He came on that day and got two goals when it was 0-0. He has continued that on with his goals up in Inverness the other week, too, so he’s a very good player.
“It just shows us the depth of squad that they have. They’ve got untold attacking options. If he is playing, we will need to keep an eye on him.
“You always expect it to be difficult going to Celtic – you just have to look at the squad they have. They have some amazing players and you have to respect what they have done in qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League, not just for their own club, but for the whole of Scottish football.
“The game up here has been given a bit of a kicking over the last few months, but what they have achieved just goes to show that they do have a good squad.
“But we’re looking at this as a chance for us to go there and cause an upset. We know ourselves that we are a decent team and we go to Celtic Park with confidence. Hopefully, if we do the things we know we can do well, we will be able to get a good result.”