Mark Oxley believes Hibs have upgraded their squad this summer even though they have lost talisman Scott Allan.
Dan Carmichael, Marvin Bartley, James Keatings, Liam Henderson and John McGinn have all arrived to replace the likes of Franck Dja Djedje, Scott Robertson, Liam Craig and Allan from last season’s group, while Dylan McGeouch has returned on a permanent basis after starring on loan last term.
“I think the squad is stronger than last season,” said goalkeeper Oxley. “We’ve lost Liam Craig and Scott Robertson, who were big characters, but the people the manager has brought in couldn’t be better fits for us. They are all young and hungry and want to win.
“Scott [Allan] was a great lad. Everyone loved him here and he’s a big loss to us, but the players that manager has brought in, John McGinn and Liam Henderson, are more than capable of filling his shoes so I think we’re as ready as we can be.
“I think it was the manager’s plan to keep most of the lads together who were here last year, a few have come in and a few have gone out. But the lads he has brought in have been very similar to the group we have already got so there were no problems with them knitting in with the group.
“They have all fitted in perfectly and with others coming back from injury like Martin Boyle and Dan Carmichael, who were massive for us last week, I think we are getting stronger every week.”
Oxley hopes to put that theory to the test at Ibrox tomorrow. Four weeks ago, Hibs were thrashed 6-2 at home by Rangers in the Petrofac Cup. However, the goalkeeper is adamant that game will not adversely effect his team’s mindset this weekend and will only serve to ensure there is no complacency in the Hibs ranks.
“The Petrofac game won’t influence us at all, if anything I think it gives us a better chance going into it knowing what they are all about,” he said. “They have made a lot of changes to the squad they had last season but we are going into this like any other game.
“I don’t know if they took us by surprise, but the result wasn’t what we wanted, and the amount of goals we conceded certainly wasn’t.
“We don’t want a repeat of that so we’ll be on our game. The result last week [beating Morton] has helped set us up nicely for this game.”