BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Alan Stubbs admits Hibs’ transfer dealings this month have exceeded his expectations – and reckons the Easter Road have a squad fit to challenge for a treble.
The Hibees head coach has confirmed there will be no further signings during this transfer windows following the arrivals of Chris Dagnall, Niklas Gunnarsson, Anthony Stokes and yesterday’s capture of Kevin Thomson.
In Stokes, who boasts 76 goals in five-and-a-half years at Celtic prior to return to Leith on loan, Stubbs produced his ‘rabbit from the hat’, while Gunnarsson’s arrival from satisfied his desire for defensive cover.
The signing of Thomson as a player/coach following his release by Dundee was an unforeseen bonus – and one Stubbs was delighted to push through.
With today’s league fixture against St Mirren to be followed by a League Cup semi-final against St Johnstone and a Scottish Cup derby against Hearts in the next fortnight, Stubbs believes he has the depth to fight on three fronts.
Stubbs lauded: “I am delighted with my squad, I really am. We have probably done better this month than I expected.
“There’s only probably Celtic and ourselves who have a realistic chance of winning everything – we are still in the Scottish Cup, still in the League Cup and we can still win promotion.
“That tells you where we are at too. It is no mean feat to be in all the competitions come the end of January – we have an awful lot to play for.
“We have certainly got a Premiership squad. We have shown against Premiership opposition this season that we can compete. We have to do that again over the next few weeks and it will be a big test but one I fully believe the players can cope with.
“This is a brilliant and exciting three weeks coming up – in fact it is a brilliant and exciting four months. But this next three weeks, for me it does not get any better.”
Thomson, 31, has joined Hibs until the end of the season for a third spell at Easter Road, where he will combine his playing commitments with coaching the youth side.
The former Rangers and Middlesbrough playmaker boasts a wealth of experience, turning out in the Champions League group stage and Uefa Cup final as well as his 128 appearances for the Hibees.
And Stubbs believes his influence will be invaluable during a fraught title race.
Stubbs continued: “He will sign until the end of the season and then we will look at it again then.
“Kevin comes in first and foremost to contribute on the pitch. But in the background there will be some sort of coaching for him to keep him improving.
“He is halfway through his A licence so it is a good opportunity for him to learn and get a bit more experience working with the 15s and the 17s.
“He is still learning and can make mistakes. When you are trying to learn it is about trial and error. You can do that with the 15s and 17s – he will learn from them and they can learn from him.
“We will see how he evolves with his coaching. If he is doing well then that is another discussion.”