BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Farid El Alagui has urged Hibernian not to panic or feel sorry for themselves as their season threatens to unravel horribly.
The former Falkirk striker has made a surprise return to the fold in recent days but his first two appearances in three months have coincided with shock back-to-back losses.
The 31-year-old netted his first goal of an injury-ravaged campaign in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Dumbarton after making his comeback in Wednesday’s stunning 3-0 reverse to Morton.
With an 11-point gulf to Rangers at the summit of the Championship, the Easter Road side’s task in the league appears now to be not relinquishing second spot to Falkirk, who are just two points adrift with 10 games remaining.
However, with a trip to face Queen of the South next up on Tuesday, before the Scottish Cup quarter-final at home to Inverness Caley Thistle and then the League Cup final against Ross County on March 13, El Alagui knows Hibs require a strong response.
He said: “Unfortunately, if you give away three goals it’s hard to come back. We can’t afford to do that in every game.
“The response was obviously better than the Morton game but it’s still a loss and it’s just not good enough.
“But the worst thing is to start feeling sorry for ourselves. We can’t do that.
“We have to come back into it straight away on Tuesday. We’ve got an important game at Queen of the South.
“The best answer there is to put in a great performance and win.
“But if we start feeling sorry for ourselves and looking at each other and pointing out mistakes that is the wrong thing to do.
“We need to get back to basics and do what we do the best, the simple things, like defend properly, and we will naturally score goals.”
What head coach Alan Stubbs branded a blip after the Morton defeat has come at a dangerous juncture in the season for Hibs.
Aiming to close the gap to Rangers to five points in midweek against Morton, the capital outfit have instead allowed the Ibrox club to close one hand tightly round the Championship trophy.
But, with still the possibility of silverware in both cups and promotion via the play-offs, El Alagui is clear the Easter Road men have plenty to play for.
He added on Hibs TV: “We have come this far. From the start of the season, the boys have been working really, really hard to get to the moment in the season where you have exciting games coming up.
“So, this is not the time to lose concentration and spoil everything we have done so far.
“We need to not panic and make sure we do things right on Tuesday, because that will give us the confidence to go on and do well in the cups.”