Hibs are set to make a loss as they seek to pack out Easter Road for the second leg of their SPFL Premiership play-off final, the Evening News can reveal.
Terry Butcher’s side will discover on Sunday whether they will face Hamilton or Falkirk in their battle for top-flight survival, as the Championship sides go head-to-head at New Douglas Park, the first leg of the semi-final having ended in a 1-1 draw.
The winners will play Hibs at home on Wednesday night and then travel to Edinburgh for the return leg a week on Sunday (kick-off 3.30pm) to decide which club will be playing Premiership football next season.
Hibs have already announced that admission for that match will be free for season ticket holders while prices for others have been slashed to just £10 (adults) and £5 (concessions).
It is the latest in a series of incentives adopted by the Edinburgh club in recent weeks. Reduced prices for the visit of Kilmarnock in the last match of the regular season attracted a crowd of more than 15,000.
Now Hibs hope for an even bigger gate to roar on Butcher’s players even if it means taking a financial hit once the cost of policing, stewarding and other outlays are taken into consideration.
Chairman Rod Petrie has apologised to Hibs supporters for a “dismal” 11th-place finish, which he admitted fell far below both expectations and the capabilities of Butcher’s squad.
Club officials have recognised the play-offs are fixtures that “no-one wants” and don’t see next Sunday’s showdown as a money-making exercise. They would rather see a bumper crowd roar on Butcher’s players in such an important match.