What Hibs need to do, and what needs to happen elsewhere, to seal top six berth

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Scotland’s top-flight teams have two matches remaining before the cinch Premiership splits into the top six, which brings with it the possibility of varying levels of Europe depending on final placing, and the bottom six which generally produces a meander to the finish line for those safe from the automatic relegation spot and relegation play-off slot.

Hibs are hoping to improve on last season’s eighth-place finish but first on their list is securing a spot in the top six. At one point, not all that long ago, the Easter Road side looked to be a veritable shoe-in for the top six and talk turned to chasing down Hearts in third. Since that, they have picked up precisely zero points, as have Hearts. Aberdeen, resurgent under interim boss Barry Robson, have sneaked into third ahead of the Jam Tarts and St Mirren have firmly inserted themselves into the mix. For Hibs to meet their top-half aspirations, they need to pick up maximum points and if not, hope that other results go their way.

Aberdeen (third, 47pts) have already guaranteed a top-six berth. They face a Friday night trip to Ross County this week before hosting Rangers in their final pre-split match on Sunday April 23. Hearts (fourth, 45pts) travel to Hibs at Easter Road on Saturday before hosting Ross County at lunchtime on Saturday April 22. St Mirren (fifth, 44pts) travel to Ibrox to face Rangers on Saturday April 15 before hosting Kilmarnock on Saturday April 22. Hibs (sixth, 40pts) host Hearts this weekend before travelling to St Johnstone in the final pre-split fixture. Livingston (seventh, 39pts) host St Johnstone this weekend before travelling to Dundee United on Saturday April 22 and Motherwell (eighth, 36pts) host Dundee United this weekend before travelling to face Celtic and could mathematically still make the top six.


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There are many moving parts as Hibs chase that top six spotThere are many moving parts as Hibs chase that top six spot
There are many moving parts as Hibs chase that top six spot

If Hibs win both remaining matches to finish on 46pts, they are assured top six regardless of how teams below them fare. Neither Livingston nor Motherwell can reach or better that total, even if they also win both remaining matches.

Even four points from their remaining games would be enough, provided Livingston fail to pick up two wins. Goal difference is heavily in Hibs’ favour against the Lions so if both teams finish level on points, Hibs would secure top six. This would be the outcome if Hibs picked up three points from their final two pre-split games and Livingston four.

Where it starts to get really dicey for Hibs is if they pick up fewer than three points so two draws, one draw, or consecutive defeats. Depending on how Livi and Motherwell fare, Hibs could slide out of the top six if they fail to get back to winning ways in at least one of their matches.

Last season it came down to the final pre-split gameweek, and the same could happen this term – or though Hibs will want to take three points from Saturday’s Edinburgh derby at Easter Road before looking to leave McDiarmid Park with the win a week later.

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The one thing in Hibs’ favour is that their destiny is fully in their hands: two wins out of two, and it matters not a jot what the other teams do. Whether they will manage that is another question entirely.

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