Michael Weir: Hibs boss does have a cross to bear

Alan Stubbs shakes hands with Peter Houston at full-time. Pic: John Devlin
Alan Stubbs shakes hands with Peter Houston at full-time. Pic: John Devlin
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ALAN STUBBS felt the wrath of Falkirk manager Peter Houston following Saturday’s Scottish Cup defeat at Hampden after claiming ‘only one team deserves to be in the final’.

Every man and their dog knows Hibs created more than enough opportunities in the first half alone to win any football match but, as Houston rightly pointed out, we’ve got to learn to defend crosses better as we have looked so vulnerable against the Bairns this season and that was again the case with Craig Sibbald’s second-half winner.

The manager has got to accept it’s not all about going forward trying to score goals. You need a solid defensive foundation to work from, an aspect of our game, I feel, must improve.

Saturday’s match wasn’t a great spectacle by any means but we still should have had enough in our locker to see off the little threat the Bairns did pose.

That said, we have now failed to beat Houston’s side in four attempts this season and have a trip to the Falkirk Stadium for a fifth encounter still to come on the final day of the season.

I believe we are beginning to look all too predictable having little or no width in our play.

I think Saturday’s semi-final, on the big pitch at Hampden, was crying out for a winger to get down the touchline to give our strikers something to feed off.

But both Jason Cummings and Farid El Alagui spent the vast majority of the game with their backs to the opposition’s goal with little to get on the end of.

The manager has stressed over the past couple of weeks that his team have the bottle when the pressure is on. Reaching the Scottish Cup final would have been a real reward for the players’ endeavours this season but, ultimately, gaining promotion back to the top flight is far more important for the club.

I just hope the weekend’s defeat can spur the players on in our quest for promotion.

With a trip to Livingston on Wednesday, we must ensure our cup exit doesn’t derail our league aspirations. With Livi currently embroiled in a relegation dogfight, I expect a stern test in our quest to grind out another three points.