Reconstruction: Boss wants Hibs to go up on merit

Alan Stubbs just wants to get Hibs promoted amid talk of change
Alan Stubbs just wants to get Hibs promoted amid talk of change
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Alan Stubbs today revealed he’s open to a discussion about league reconstruction – but insisted he wants to see Hibs promoted on merit.

Amid radical changes to the League Cup and reintroduction of a winter break announced earlier this week, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster also floated the idea of enlarging the top flight to 14 teams with the possibility that such a move could be introduced in time for next season.

As things stand, if that were to happen, it would appear both Hibs and Rangers would be playing Premiership football next season. But, at the moment, the two are battling it out for the Championship title and the one automatic promotion place it carries while the loser would again face the traumas of the play-offs.

Stubbs is well aware of stepping onto dangerous ground by entering a debate on league reconstruction, admitting it could draw accusations of simple self interest, the charge made by some when Falkirk chairman Doug Henderson aired his views on a bigger top league.

However, the Hibs head coach is adamant that is not the case, saying: “I think the best way to answer that is that as a club we would welcome discussions on league reconstruction.

“I don’t want to turn round and say there should be an ‘X’ team top flight and I don’t want that to be used as an excuse for not trying to achieve our aims. We want to get into the Premiership on merit.

“I’m not going to get sidetracked on anything other than what we are trying to achieve here. We want to be one of the 12 teams in the Scottish Premiership and then we will take it from there.

“We want to go up to the top flight as champions, we make no bones about that as there is no point in me saying otherwise. We want to go up automatically or via the play-off system because that is potentially achievable.”

Stubbs accepted that everyone will have their “own agenda” when such a topic is raised and that finding an answer agreeable to all won’t be easy, but insisted: “I think we all want what is best for Scottish football. Do the supporters want to see teams playing each other six times a season? Look at Celtic and Dundee United last season. I know the likes of Celtic versus Rangers are big games, but do we realistically want to see them play a minimum of four times a season?

“There’s vested interests in this and that is why there have to be discussions.”

Meanwhile, Stubbs was adamant he had “no idea” where the story linking Hibs with Hamilton goalkeeper Michael McGovern had come from. He said: “We never speak about players from other clubs – it is wrong. We are going to get linked with a few names between now and the end of January, some may have substance, some won’t. There will be a lot of it driven by agents.”