BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Hibs assistant John Doolan has laughed off the notion of a bitter feud between Alan Stubbs and Rangers boss Mark Warburton – insisting their bickering is more like an episode of the Chuckle Brothers!
Twice so far this season Warburton has taken umbrage at comments made by Stubbs regarding the Ibrox outfit.
The Light Blues boss was irked by a suggestion that managing Rangers should be ‘easy’ and over the weekend expressed his irritation at Stubbs’ claim that the fallen Old Firm giants have a budget four times that of Hibs.
The apparent spat has added extra spice to a Championship title race that could see Hibs close the gap on their Govan rivals to just two points if they defeat Livingston in tonight’s rearranged fixture.
However, Doolan claims the pleasantries exchanged in the the bowels of Easter Road in the aftermath of Hibs’ 2-1 win over Rangers earlier this month tells a different story.
And he reckons the public squabble is really a tit-for-tat exchange more akin to a pantomime – or the ‘to me, to you’ catchphrase of kids’ entertainers the Chuckle Brothers.
He commented: “That’s between the Rangers manager and our gaffer so I’ll let those two crack on with it.
“I don’t think there’s an issue between the two management teams from what I’ve seen. After the last game at Easter Road we all sat in the room afterwards. I sat on the same sofa as them and had a chat with Mark and Jim (Stewart), the goalkeeping coach, and everyone was fine.
“There was a glass of wine shared. It’s good, we come in and shake hands and just chat about the game.
“To be honest, I’d love to play Rangers every day because they are really good games to play and I’m sure the fans would say the same thing. Everyone gets up for these games and it’s a good spectacle, so it’s good for Scottish football.
“I think it’s just there’s an edge when you’ve got two massive clubs competing for the same thing, so you’re always going to get that little bit of friction sometimes.
“There’s an element of pantomime to it all. It’s ‘to you, to me’, like the Chuckle Brothers, whatever. I just stay away from it.”
Doolan insists Hibs are eager to concentrate on their own business as they bid to take advantage of quickly playing the game against Livingston rearranged from Saturday because of international commitments.
However, the importance of being able to haul themselves to within just two points of the league leaders was difficult for the former Wigan Athletic player and coach to avoid.
Asked if cutting the gap would be psychologically significant, he added: “I’d say so. We just want to win the next game, it’s a simple as that – and then we will look forward to Saturday.
“If that brings us two points closer to Rangers then great.
“I think you’ve just got to do what you do and that’s get out on to the pitch and win games. That’s what it’s about at the top end and then you see where it takes us at the end of the season.”