BY DARREN JOHNSTONE @CCP_Sport
Alan Stubbs insists Scottish football is crying out for both Hibs and Rangers to return to the Premiership.
The Championship title race between the two clubs is generating arguably the most excitement in the game north of the border, with Celtic once again expected to romp to the top-flight title.
The pickering between both Hibs head coach Stubbs and Rangers manager Mark Warburton also adds another dimension to the intense rivalry on the pitch.
And former Celtic and Everton defender Stubbs, who took over the reins following the Hibs’ relegation in 2014, believes that the health of the Scottish game would be boosted by having the two rehabilitated teams back in the top tier.
Speaking ahead of his side’s trip to Alloa tomorrow, Stubbs said: “What we’ve got now in the Championship is a huge club in Rangers, who are fighting their way back up the leagues and want to get back into the top flight – just as we do after relegation two seasons ago.
“We look upon ourselves the same as Rangers – a team that wants to be in the Premiership.
“I believe for a better league, the SPFL needs the likes of Rangers and ourselves in the mix.
“You only have to look at how difficult it was to get a sponsor. We need to make it as attractive and competitive as we can.
“Is that the case just now in the top flight? If people were being honest then they’d probably say no.
“I’m not saying we should automatically be in the top league as one of the big clubs in Scotland. We knew the terms when we signed the deal.
“I’m just speaking generally. Would the Premiership be better with Rangers and Hibs? That’s the point I’m making.”
Stubbs and Warburton were at each other’s throats again this week after the Hibs head coach suggested that Rangers spend four times as much on players as the Leith outfit.
The pair also clashed earlier in the campaign when Stubbs claimed it is ‘very easy’ to sign good players when you have money to spend.
Hibs assistant John Doolan even branded the pair the Chuckle Brothers on Monday but Stubbs insists football needs personalities.
Stubbs added: “I quite like it. Sometimes when you’ve got someone who gives you nothing, it’s very hard. It’s like pulling teeth trying to get a line out of them.
“When you’ve got one that gives you something, you go away thinking, great.
“In football, people say there are no personalities and it’s the same on and off the pitch. When (Jose) Mourinho first came, he got criticised. Some people didn’t like him.
“For me it’s not trying to be clever, what I said at the time is fact.
“I’ve got pressure from the teams below me because my budget is bigger than theirs – I know that and I have no problem with it.
“I’m here to win games of football, when my budget is bigger than teams below, you’re expected to win.
“It would be boring without things like this, wouldn’t it?”
Stubbs admits he worked under some of the best in the business when it comes to handling yourself in public.
He added: “Of the managers I played under, David Moyes came out with the biggest statement when he called Everton ‘The People’s Club’ because it got a few backs up on Merseyside.
“Martin O’Neill was very charismatic and intelligent – a lot more intelligent me – and was articulate with what he said.
“Walter Smith was another. I’ve been lucky because I’ve had some very good managers.”