Jason Cummings today claimed Hibs remain favourites for promotion despite having to settle for third place finish in the Championship.
The Easter Road side were pipped to second by Falkirk by virtue of the Bairns being two goals better off after both clubs ended the regular season with 70 points, Hibs winning their final game against Queen of the South 2-0 while Peter Houston’s players defeated Morton 1-0.
Now the Capital club face the play-offs for a third year in succession, Cummings having suffered bitter disappointment twice, missing from the spot in a penalty shoot-out as Hibs were relegated by Hamilton even though the youngster had scored twice in the first leg. Rangers ended their promotion hopes last season.
But the 20-year-old believes those setbacks will stand those who suffered them in good stead as Hibs again attempt to rejoin the Premiership, the first of a potential six games coming against in-form Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park on Wednesday night.
Insisting Alan Stubbs players should have no fears, Cummings said: “We are going in as favourites, other teams will be scared of playing us. I don’t know what the bookies are offering, but we believe we are favourites.
“We were unlucky not to get second, but we think we have the players here to go on and get promoted.”
Should Hibs go all the way in the play-offs they’ll face seven games in just 20 days when their Scottish Cup final against Rangers is taken into account but, again, Cummings insists there’s little to worry about.
Recalling how he and his team-mates had a fairly lengthy break between the end of their regular season and their first play-off game a year ago, he said: “You don’t have time to think and worry, you are pitched right back in. It could be a good thing for us.”
Although Hibs have already played almost 50 games, Cummings, who took his tally for the season to 25 after Niklas Gunnarsson had scored the opener against ten-man Queen of the South, insisted they can cope with up to seven more.
He said: “It’s become the norm for us. We’ve played midweek every week for a couple of months.
“We have a big squad. I didn’t play in the last game against Dumbarton and wasn’t on from the start yesterday but it shows we have the strikers who can come in and do a job. We will be all right.
“The boys who have already gone through the play-offs before know it does hurt, that your season is over. It’s a harsh way to go out, but if anything it puts the boys in a good state of mind. They don’t want that to happen again.
“The last two haven’t gone the way we wanted so hopefully this time we will turn it around. We’ll just take Wednesday as another game and for me it’s another chance to score more goals. We’re looking forward to it.”