BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs insists he has not been shocked by Raith Rovers’ remarkable start to the season after being blown away by Ray McKinnon during the recent UEFA Pro Licence course.
The duo worked towards the coaching qualification together and Stubbs was impressed by McKinnon’s demeanour and imagination during the get-together.
That has been borne out by the Championship table this term, with Rovers sitting in third place and turning Stark’s Park into a fortress.
Raith have a 100 per cent record in Kirkcaldy and have only conceded one goal in their five league games to date ahead of the mouth-watering visit of the Hibees tomorrow.
Stubbs lauded: “We know how strong Raith Rovers have been at home and to concede just one goal tells you everything. We know their home form is very good but we’re going to go there and test them.
“If you look at it compared to last season then they’ve certainly done better in the early part. When they came to Easter Road I knew they’d assembled a good team.
“I know Ray from the Pro Licence we were on together and I was impressed by him on the course, so I am not shocked by how well they have done on his watch.
“He knew how to put a coaching session on and, when we did certain topics and we were in teams, he always had good ideas that he put across.
“You can tell by the way someone has authority on the training pitch and the way they conduct themselves that they are going to be good. He was a talented footballer and knows what he wants as a manager.”
Stubbs also had plenty of praise for Scott Robertson, who is likely to line up against the Hibees – just four months after leaving the club for an ill-fated stint in Romania with Botosani.
While the Hibs boss is desperate to get the better of his former player, there will be an abundance of respect when the pair cross paths in Kirkcaldy.
Stubbs added: “I wouldn’t have expected to be facing Scott Robertson after he went abroad.
“That’s one of the problems with going abroad – you just don’t know what you’re going into. The best thing for Robbo is that he managed to get out as quickly as possible.
“He’s a really good signing for Raith Rovers. He was brilliant when he was here. He a player who doesn’t get the recognition they deserve for the dirty jobs that need done in a team. He went about his business with efficiency and professionalism.
“Scott was very close to staying and it was a difficult decision for me. We offered him a contract but couldn’t come to an agreement in the end so we shook hands and wished him all the best. There were no hard feelings.”