Niklas Gunnarsson hopes last-day Elfsborg success is repeated with Hibs

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BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport

NIKLAS Gunnarsson knows how it feels to triumph in a tense last-day shoot-out and is convinced he can repeat his success with Hibernian.

The Norwegian defender was with Elfsborg last year when the Swedish outfit achieved the final-game victory they needed to qualify for the Europa League ahead of Malmo.

Hibs host Dumbarton this evening seeking the victory that would pull them level on points with Falkirk in second spot and give them hope of overhauling their rivals for the runners-up spot when the league reaches its climax on Sunday.

Niklas Gunnarsson 1000

Gunnarsson prevailed in such a nervy final weekend when Elfsborg defeated Falkenberg 4-2 back in October last year as Malmo were losing 2-0 to champions Norrkoping.

But he has revealed there are likely to be some differences in approach if Hibs can set up a last-game decider against Queen of the South at the same time as Falkirk host Morton on Sunday.

He explained: “Last year, with Elfsborg we were fighting to win the league and to get a top-three spot, but we didn’t manage that in the end.

“We lost out on the chance to win a medal with three games to go, then against Malmo in the last game we were competing for a Europa League spot. We got fourth and they got fifth.

“We had to win the last game and we won 4-2. It got interesting because, week to week, you’re listening out for the scores.

“Then, in the final games, they read out the goal updates on the loud speaker so we knew what was happening.

“I think that’s something that’s more common in Scandinavia than in Scotland. When you’re playing it can be hard to listen out to what is being said but the fans then react.

“I don’t know if we will find anything out and it’s up to the gaffer what he wants us to know or not know. The most important thing for us to do is to do our part.”

Goals

If Hibs can win their final two matches and Falkirk defeat Morton on Sunday, second place will come down to goal difference.

Currently, Falkirk enjoy seven goals of an advantage, meaning a big victory over Dumbarton tonight could put pressure on the Bairns this weekend.

Gunnarsson is too canny to say Hibs will definitely get what they want against the Sons, who on Saturday staved off any chance of being involved in a relegation play-off.

However, the 24-year-old has belief that they have the ability to piece together the kind of clinical display that could worry Falkirk.

He added: “We have goal-scorers in our team so know it just comes down to scoring our chances. We know we can create 10-15 chances a game.

“Against Rangers, we were effective because we scored most of the chances we had.

“But when we were away to Dumbarton we created 18 chances and scored two goals. That wasn’t the best ratio but if we click then we have the ability to score five goals.

“If we can come much closer to Falkirk in the goal difference stakes then they will feel the pressure.

“But winning 5-0 is a very difficult thing and it doesn’t happen that often in the game.

“First and foremost, we just have to win the game. If we can score a few more than usual that would be awesome.”

@IainCollin

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