Make no mistake, Saturday’s match was critical for everyone at Hibs and the team delivered.
I was worried before the game that we might not turn it around because there was so much pressure on the players.
To be 1-0 down to a form team like Raith Rovers and still go through in such a high-stakes situation is a big achievement which should do wonders for the players’ confidence.
The early goal was crucial in turning it around. We were hanging on a bit in the second half but that’s always likely in that situation because they had nothing to lose and were able to throw bodies forward. That approach can cause any team problems, but the main thing is that we held firm when a lot of people would have been waiting for us to blow it. The team deserve nothing but credit.
I think the Raith games might have been a bit stickier in a strange way than the Falkirk games will be. The players would have been disappointed at having to play Raith in the first place because we missed out on second place but they will now be on a real high after coming through those high-pressure games.
I’m now really confident we’ll get past Falkirk. I expect our good players to turn up and, if they do that, we’ve got enough about us to go through. We’re in really good form at home just now, so there’s no reason we should be afraid of Falkirk. The last time they came to Easter Road, we played them off the pitch for 85 minutes. They’ll be strong and resilient but, in terms of quality, we’re a better team and when there’s a big-match atmosphere, our players usually turn up and deliver.
There’s no love lost between the two teams and I think a pumped-up Easter Road will help ensure Hibs are right at it. It’s generally been the lower- key games that have let us down this season. We’ve shown several times that we can handle the big occasion so that bodes well for what is hopefully a run of five huge matches over the next two weeks. The end of a marathon season is in sight and I think the players will thrive now that they know this is the make-or-break stage when their fate will be decided.