BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Alan Stubbs knows the idea that Hibernian do not have the bottle for success has re-surfaced in recent days – but the head coach is adamant they should be judged at the end of the campaign and not after two shock defeats.
When Stubbs arrived in the summer of 2014, he was made painfully aware of the impression that Hibs were a soft touch.
He spoke only recently of having worked hard to change that perception.
With that in mind, the 3-0 home defeat to Morton last Wednesday, when they had the opportunity to close the gap on Rangers at the top of the Championship to five points, came as a shock.
Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Dumbarton, though, brought back accusations of an inability to survive when the going gets tough.
However, Stubbs mounted a spirited defence of his squad yesterday as he prepared for a crucial league clash with Queen of the South, a game that will be swiftly followed by a Scottish Cup quarter-final against Inverness Caley Thistle and their League Cup final against Ross County.
He said: “If people are saying we have crashed then we must have crashed to get to the League Cup final and we must have crashed to get to the Scottish Cup quarter-final. You can’t have it both ways.
“It’s a good job I don’t listen to people. People are there to write what they want – it doesn’t affect me. It’s there as a headline or whatever.
“Since I’ve come here we’ve done okay.
“With everything in life, it’s changing the perceptions people have of you. That’s what you have to do. We’ve tried to do that since we’ve come here and we’ve had some success at doing that.
“It is a process you have to keep working towards. Let’s see if these people are saying the same things at the end of the season.
“It’s the first time we’ve lost back-to-back games since the season started six months ago so we’re still doing okay.”
Not only have Hibs’ consecutive defeats seemingly cost them the opportunity to challenge Rangers for the title they have also given Falkirk the opportunity to snatch second spot away from the capital men.
Hibs’ lead is now just two points, with 10 games remaining, and both will know the benefits of finishing second and having two less matches to play in the play-offs.
However, Stubbs is adamant he and his side are not concerning themselves with Falkirk closing in on them below.
He added: “I’ve not looked over my shoulder, to be honest, since the season started.
“We’re obviously aware of what’s going on. But we just keep doing what we know we can do. The rest doesn’t make any difference.
“We won’t have that (an extra two games) if we finish second. No-one is even thinking about fourth, third, we’re just thinking about our next games.
“There is a long way to go yet. We’ve got 10 games in the league yet, other games in the cups.
“So, we’re not even thinking about the end of the season and the permutations of where we finish, what games we’re going to play.
“There is a lot of football to be played before we even get to that.”
Stubbs was speaking as Hibs launched an initiative in partnership with health and wellbeing website ‘Living it Up’ to encourage supporters to collectively walk ‘500 miles’. For more see www.livingitup.org.uk/500miles