Hibs in Europe: What needs to happen for Hibees to reach Europa League
Hibs need to finish at least fourth to reach the Europa League qualifying stages - provided Celtic win the Scottish Cup - but if they are to do so, they’ll probably need a little bit of help from teams around them. Kilmarnock are four points ahead, with a one-goal advantage in the goal difference column. Without further ado, here’s how Hibs can secure that coveted European spot...
Hibs’ remaining fixtures are away to Rangers on Sunday May 5, away to Kilmarnock on Saturday May 11 and at home to Aberdeen on May 19. Fourth-placed Kilmarnock travel to Hearts on Saturday May 4 and Rangers on May 19. Third-placed Aberdeen host Celtic on Saturday May 4 and Hearts on Friday May 10. Third place is not out of the question but fourth spot would appear to be more attainable - but only if Celtic win the Scottish Cup final on May 25, and their allocated European spot is awarded to the side that finishes fourth.
Hibs stand a better chance of finishing fourth (or third) if they win all three matches. Beyond that, they are relying on other results to go their way.
Win every game and hope Kilmarnock drop points
Three wins out of three against Rangers, Kilmarnock and Aberdeen would hand the Easter Road side nine points, but they would have to hope Killie slip up away to Hearts this weekend, or at home to Rangers on the final day of the season.
Nine points for Hibs would put Paul Heckingbottom’s side on 63 points. Killie are currently on 58 points, so a win, draw and a loss for the Ayrshire side coupled with three Hibs wins would be enough for Hibs finish a point ahead of Kilmarnock.
Win two games and hope Kilmarnock lose all three remaining games
Hibs can afford not to win against Rangers or Aberdeen - provided they record victories in their other two matches, and Steve Clarke’s side lose to Hearts and Rangers. This would put Hibs on 61 points with two wins and a draw, or 60 points with two wins and a defeat, while Kilmarnock would remain on 58 points.
Win one game, draw two and hope Kilmarnock lose all three remaining games
Hibs could beat Kilmarnock and record draws against Rangers and Aberdeen and it would be enough for a fourth-placed finish at the expense of Kilmarnock if the Rugby Park side fail to beat Hearts or Rangers.
Win one game, draw two and hope Kilmarnock lose two and draw one with a lesser goal difference
Hibs could beat Kilmarnock and record draws against Rangers and Aberdeen and it would still be enough for a fourth-placed finish at the expense of Kilmarnock if the Rugby Park side lost to either Hearts or Rangers and recorded a draw with the other - assuming Hibs’ results had put them ahead of the Ayrshire side on goal difference.
Win all three games, hope Kilmarnock and Aberdeen lose their remaining fixtures, and finish third
Hibs could actually sneak third, but they’d need an incredible turn of events to do so. Three wins from three, and nine points, would see the Hibees finish on 63 points.
To do so, they’d need to beat Kilmarnock away and Aberdeen at home as well as Rangers at Ibrox.
But if the Dons were beaten by Celtic and Hearts, and Killie lost to Hearts and Rangers, Hibs would take third spot with the Pittodrie side finishing fourth, two points behind Hibs, and Kilmarnock ending the season in fifth.
It’s a stretch, but football is a funny old game.