BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs has warned Rangers that he is ready to “pull a rabbit out of the hat” when the transfer window opens next month.
The Glasgow giants have been linked with several players as January approaches, with Mark Warburton keen to ensure his side secure a pivotal return to the Scottish Premiership.
Stubbs admits he is intrigued to find out whether the Gers will be able to substantially strengthen, nevertheless he has his own irons in the fire as he looks to supplement an impressive squad in the capital.
He is keen to add a striker and a defender to his ranks and revealed that the club are “quite a bit down the line” with those aims.
“I think we are all waiting to see if Rangers do strengthen,” said the Easter Road gaffer. “There has been a lot of talk about it . . . but we will see what happens.
“All I’m concentrating on is what I am potentially looking to bring in – and that might be quite exciting, and could surprise a few people as well. I like to pull rabbits out of the hat.
“We are quite a bit down the line with what we want to do. We have been speaking about this for about the last five weeks so we know exactly what we want to do.
“Whether we can do it is another question – but we certainly know what we want. we would like another defender. We would like another striker and there might be one or two that go out on loan, if they choose to
“You know what January is like, sometimes it throws up surprises as well.”
Stubbs is acutely aware that the draw of a thrilling title race – with the Championship arguably proving a more intriguing prospect at the summit than the Premiership – will attract plenty of talent to Easter Road.
However, he is conscious of retaining the camaraderie and balance within his ranks, regardless of who becomes available next month.
“In this situation, you find that rather than you having to run around chasing people, they start coming to you!” smiled Stubbs.
“They see what you are doing, the football you are playing and they hear things. That is what we are finding. It is great but it is only great if they fit into your plans and what you have set aside and set up for the months ahead.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs insists his players are rising to the challenge of a fraught title battle with Rangers ahead of the crunch meeting between the sides in Govan.
With just three points separating the sides, Hibs host Queen of the South tomorrow while Rangers travel to Falkirk. The sides then meet at Ibrox the following week.
“I think people just thought Rangers were going to run away with it,” said Stubbs. “But I knew my team would have a say in it.
“Now everyone will be looking at the games ahead and trying to predict where they think we will drop points and win points, what could be the pivotal games.
“There will be more trials and tribulations along the way and it will come down to the team that handles it the best. I’m happy with what I have got, I really am. I think they are rising to the challenge.”