Hibs told to ignore unrest at Rangers

Alan Stubbs at Ibrox
Alan Stubbs at Ibrox
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Hibs boss Alan Stubbs will urge his players to ignore the unrest in the Ibrox stands and simply concentrate on clocking up a third successive victory over Rangers on Friday night.

Stubbs experienced the eerie atmosphere which has gripped the Govan ground in recent months with angry supporters protesting both outside and inside the stadium as the battle for boardroom control rages on as he watched Kenny McDowall’s side crash out of the Scottish Cup at the hands of Raith Rovers.

But today the Easter Road head coach insisted Rangers’ troubles were for them alone to deal with and revealed he will be ensuring Hibs focus purely on maintaining their own impressive run of form – which includes 3-1 and 4-0 triumphs over the Light Blues – with a victory which would lift them into second place in the Championship table.

Just 11,442 watched Raith beat Rangers only seven days after Old Firm rivals Celtic had cruised to victory against them in the semi-final of the League Cup, leading Stubbs to observe: “There certainly is a strange atmosphere at this moment in time. I think everyone can sense it. But that is nothing to do with us, is it.

“Friday night is a big game no matter what. The one thing I’ll be expecting from them is a response and we have to be very mindful of that. There’s a lot of pressure on Rangers but in football you want to win games no matter whether it’s the league or the cup and sometimes you are just looking for something to trigger a good run of form.

“The Raith result certainly isn’t going to help, if that’s to our advantage then great. But we have to focus on what we do. We’re in good form ourselves, losing just one out of our last 21 games. The players deserve great credit for that, confidence is high, the competition for places is very strong and getting tougher while form is getting better.”

Hibs, like Rangers although to a much lesser extent, have had their own off-field distractions regarding the club’s move towards fan ownership at Easter Road, a plan which provoked opposition from some.

However, Hands on Hibs called off their own campaign following a meeting with chairman Rod Petrie and chief executive Leeann Demspter”

And in a further move the Hibs Supporters’ Association have thrown their weight behind the bid to have fans own 51 per cent of the club despite chairman Mike Riley having voiced his own opposition to the plan.

In a one-line statement, HSA said: “The chairman and general secretary [James Murray] of the Hibernian Supporters Association are happy to announce that following a meeting with affiliated branches, HSA are supporting the share issue launched by Hibernian Football Club.”

Stubbs said: “I think it is a sign of the club really coming together.”