Michael Weir: Stubbs bringing style back to Hibs

Hibs have been lifted by the arrival of Alan Stubbs
Hibs have been lifted by the arrival of Alan Stubbs
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The season ahead is set to be the most competitive this division has seen for many years, and it promises to be an exciting challenge for the supporters of Hibs, Hearts and Rangers in particular.

The situation these clubs find themselves in is something I don’t believe we will ever see again. So much is at stake, as failure to achieve promotion come next May could throw up all sorts of financial predicaments.

Another year in the second tier of Scottish football doesn’t bear thinking about and that is why we must hit the ground running against Livingston at Easter Road tomorrow.

The comings and goings of so many of the playing staff will have tested the resolve of the manager before a ball has even been kicked. But to his credit, he has fostered the group and given them a licence to express themselves.

I’ve never really taken much notice of pre-season fixtures, as the main objective is to work on your fitness and stay away from injuries. It always helps ahead of the big kick-off though if the squad has built up a bit of confidence, and in this regard, the performance at Ibrox on Tuesday night should have given the players a huge boost despite the result. Hibs looked in control for long spells of the match until we were controversially reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Danny Handling.

Alan Stubbs applied his tactics well and kept the home support quiet, allowing us to roam with a bit more freedom than we were used to last season. Ability is ultimately what’s going to get you over the white line as champions, but being able to handle the pressure and expectations will also have a huge say in the title race.

The main positive to emerge from Ibrox was the style of play deployed from the men in green and white. We don’t want to get too carried away but the early signs have been encouraging to say the least.

Putting the first three points on the board gives the players an opportunity to get that belief on their side. The manager has stated his intentions to add one or two more in the coming weeks and this certainly bodes well for competition of places in the starting XI.