Scott Robertson believes full points from their next three games can give Hibs a massive boost as they bid to win promotion back to the Premiership.
Alan Stubbs’ men sit fourth in the Championship, seven points behind Rangers and a whopping 16 adrift of league leaders Hearts.
While some might have thrown in the towel given the gap between the city’s two clubs, midfield star Robertson says a positive outcome in Hibs’ fixtures at Raith today, at home to the Ibrox club on December 27 and away to the Jambos in the derby on January 3 could offer some optimism heading into the second half of the season.
“With the way the table looks now, it could look completely different in a month’s time with the way the fixtures are,” Robertson pointed out. “But it’s down to us to what we do in those games [against Rangers and Hearts] with the players that are available.
“Today is the biggest game because it’s the first one we’ve got to go and get the three points. We’ve already dropped points against Raith Rovers at home this season so it’s certainly not going to be an easy one.
“That’s what we’re trying to achieve [promotion] so every game is a must win, especially with the amount of points we’ve dropped this season. We’ve only got ourselves to blame. We’ve got to catch Queen of the South first as they are the team immediately above us.
“I think the fans appreciate the way we are trying to play football, though, and that’s down to the brand the manager has brought to the club. It doesn’t always work and the performances and results haven’t always matched up but, in the grand scheme of things, I think the emphasis is on us to play that way.”
Reflecting over the festive period last season, when Terry Butcher led Hibs to three consecutive wins over Ross County, Kilmarnock and Hearts, Robertson said: “We were still in the top six this time last year and we were also still in the cup. It was an incredibly steep decline for everybody involved at the club after New Year and an experience I don’t ever think I’ll have again in football. It was incredible to be part of it.
“Last Christmas was probably our best period of the season where I think we were unbeaten in five or six games. But from there until the end of the season, I think we only got one more win [against Ross County]. So we’ll get 2014 out of the way and see what 2015 brings.”
There appeared to be some unrest among a minority of Hibs supporters during the second half of last weekend’s 2-0 success over Alloa, and Robertson insisted: “I don’t think it was the biggest performance but we more than merited the three points last week.
“It’s games like Alloa that we need to be winning. I think we could say that about the Falkirk game where we weren’t at our best and we took nothing. But I would take that every week, not playing at our best but still taking three points rather than playing well and taking nothing.
“I heard a little bit [groans from the crowd] when we were keeping the ball and trying to bring Alloa out. It’s up to the fans to complain, cheer or do what they want – I’m sure there will have been fans sitting there thinking the opposite and saying ‘what are you booing for, we’re winning the game?’
“I’m sure by the end of the game, though, they were happy with the 2-0 victory.”
Robertson appears to be enjoying a new lease of life under Stubbs, reinstated to the head coach’s starting XI after recovering from a broken bone in his hand sustained during the 2-1 victory over Cowdenbeath last month.
The former Dundee United and Blackpool star revealed how the Hibs boss is giving his men the chance to express themselves – even if this results in errors.
Robertson said: “The manager acknowledges people are going to make mistakes but it’s how you react to them, be big enough and brave enough to deal with them.
“I’ve made mistakes in games that have cost us but not once has he screamed at me in the changing room and I can think of two, three games in particular. I’ve had managers in the past that have left me out of the team or have given me a rollicking.
“He wants us to be confident so it’s good the manager not only says that but sticks to it.”