BY DARREN JOHNSTONE @CCP_Sport
Camaraderie in the dressing room fused with a phalanx of talented players on the pitch, it appears Hibernian head coach Alan Stubbs has struck a potent formula.
Strikers Jason Cummings and James Keatings’ recent goal scoring exploits have propelled the Leith side to within two points of Rangers at the Ladbrokes Championship summit.
The pair have netted a combined 13 goals in Hibs’ last seven matches, a fruitful spell that coincides with an eight game winning run in all competition ahead of today’s trip to Alloa Athletic.
But fellow forward Martin Boyle concedes that they are just as ruthless when it comes to executing dressing room pranks.
“They are two great characters to have around the dressing room,” said former Dundee player Boyle
“They can be a bit of a riot at times and there is a lot of fooling about.
“I can’t go into specifics but they’re either dueling against each other or causing havoc with everyone else. They keep you on your toes.
“I think they put a bet on the day we got the squad photo shoot to do each other’s hair and to see who would cave in first.
“But Taff (Andy Holden) is a bit old school and he was having none of it.
“It probably took about three showers for them to get everything out of their hair.
“It’s all good fun. Everyone is happy to come into training and there’s a really good team spirit.
“I think the boys are happy we are winning because we are a big unit here.
“We play for the team and it’s a joy to be part of a winning team.
“I know I haven’t had as many starts as I would have liked.
“But I’m as happy as anyone else if we are getting the three points at the end of the day.”
The form of Cummings and Keatings has been the main reason that Boyle has been restricted to only five league starts so far this term.
However, the 22-year-old has no complaints when he considers the contribution from the pair.
He added: “They’re both full of confidence and they’re both scoring goals at the moment.
“Hopefully we can keep them both fit and strong so they can keep it going.
“Jason was on a great run and although it came to end (on Tuesday against Livingston) he had chances the other night.
“That shows you he is full of confidence and he is not going to let that bother him.
“Keatsy always has that ability, that’s why he left a team like Hearts to come here and get games.
“The manager showed faith in him and he has come in and repaid that.
“He has had injuries but at the moment the two of them are playing brilliantly.
“Hopefully they can keep it going.”
With Rangers and Hibs expected to take the race for the title down to the wire having been so dominant in the second tier, goal difference could be a factor in deciding which team takes the chequered flag.
But Boyle insists Stubbs’ side are only concerned with winning matches for now.
He added: “We haven’t really thought about, we haven’t thought that far ahead.
“We just stick together as much as we can and try to put as much pressure on Rangers as we can.
“But we don’t go into games thinking about what they are doing and I don’t think they’ll worry about us either.
“We always want to score as many goals as we can, we want to put teams to the sword.
“Hopefully we have the team and the squad to go and punish teams like we can.”