Hibs goal hero Scott Robertson today admitted he had his heart in his mouth, fearing he had handed Rangers an equaliser only moments before team-mate Lewis Stevenson clinched a stunning 2-0 win at Ibrox.
As the Easter Road side grimly hung onto his first-half opener, the Rangers players screamed at referee Steven McLean for a penalty as they saw the ball strike Robertson’s hand.
However, to the midfielder’s relief, McLean waved away those claims, Hibs making the most of that escape as Stevenson clinched the win which lifted Alan Stubbs’ side into second place in the Championship table.
Robertson relived the moment he thought he’d undone all Hibs’ hard work. He said: “There was a massive claim for a penalty just before Lewis got the second goal. If it had been given I couldn’t have had any complaints because the ball did hit me on the hand.
“It certainly was unintentional. The ball did hit me on the hand and obviously they claimed for it. I don’t know if the referee didn’t see it or also thought it was unintentional. Then we go up the park and score again.
“Their fans claimed a couple of times when it had obviously hit the boys on the head but you could tell by their players’ reaction they thought it had hit me on the hand. I had a quick glance at the referee and was just glad he didn’t give it.”
Stubbs, meanwhile, insisted he’d still rather be in Rangers’ position given the fact the Glasgow club under interim boss Kenny McDowall are two points behind but with three games in hand.
Admitting Hibs hadn’t played as well as they can despite making it three-successive wins over Rangers, the head coach said: “Determined would probably be the best way to describe it.
“I knew after what happened last Sunday against Raith there was going to be a response. They tried to press and put us out of our stride and I thought they had success with that but there’s a real determination among the group of players I have got and I think you saw a different side to winning games, players putting their bodies on the line, getting blocks in.
“I did not actually think we played that well but I think we showed a desire to really not be beaten.
“I would still like to be in Kenny’s position. I make no bones about that. We go into second position but they have three games in hand albeit one of them is against Hearts but I would like to be in that position.”
Stubbs was delighted with the way his players dug in to secure their victory, saying: “Football is about results and teams who go on and be successful cannot play lovely football throughout the season. There’s going to be times when you have to roll your sleeves up, get across the line, get the result.
“As a fellow defender, that’s a performance that makes me really proud and happy. The lads at the back, I thought, were fantastic. They stood up to everything that Rangers threw at them. That’s their job but they did their job very well. They are playing with a verve, with a lot of confidence and, for me, tonight was the start of the run-in. This is where the nitty gritty starts and it does not make any difference what the performances are, this is the stage of the season where it’s all about results.”
• HIBS’ Championship clash with Livingston on March 7 has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 11 with a 7.45pm kick-off. The game was switched after the Hibees reached the quarter-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup where they will meet either Spartans or Berwick Rangers on Sunday, March 8.