BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
ALAN Stubbs insists all the heat is on Falkirk this week as his Hibs side look to crank up the pressure with a victory over Dumbarton tonight.
The Easter Road outfit passed up a golden opportunity to take the race for second spot back into their own hands when they could only secure a goalless draw against Morton on Saturday.
With Falkirk only drawing at Raith Rovers hours later, a win at Cappielow would have ensured Stubbs’ side were back in the driving seat.
Instead, they are now relying on Falkirk dropping points at home to Morton in their final game on Sunday, or making up at least eight goals in the successes they need against Dumbarton and Queen of the South.
Stubbs claims all the expectations are now on Falkirk going on to clinch the runners-up spot that would afford them two less games and a 10-day rest in the play-offs.
But that expectation will also bring its own difficulties for the Bairns, according to Stubbs.
He said: “I honestly believe, now, that it has flipped. The pressure is on Falkirk now – because they are expected to win.
“They are expected to finish in second place now. So, I actually do believe it has flipped around.
“If we were to do it, it’s because they’ve failed to get three points.
“So, we’ll just have to wait to see what happens on Sunday, just after two o’clock, to see how the table lies.
“Whatever happens, we’ll just have to be ready for the third v fourth play-off – or be waiting 10 days for it to resume again.”
Asked about the importance of finishing in second place, Stubbs added: “I’m not going to turn around and say, after admitting that we want to finish second, that it doesn’t make any difference.
“Ideally, I would like to be in a position to give the players a little breather.
“If it’s third v fourth, that’s what it is. If it’s not, it’s because Falkirk have dropped points – and we’ve picked up maximum points from our last two games.”
The first thing Hibs must do to put pressure on Falkirk is win this evening’s match, but Stubbs confesses a big victory would do their chances of overhauling Falkirk no harm at all.
However, he admits his players must avoid trying to score lots of goals before they have even earned the three points they desperately require.
He said: “First and foremost, we want to win the game and then there is an element in the back of my mind thinking we want to score goals.
“We want to start the game really on the front foot and really go for it if we can.
“The most important thing is they don’t get hung up on the goal difference when Falkirk have still got a difficult game at the weekend.
“Goal difference may not come into it. You have to be careful you don’t get too wrapped up in that.
“Two wins might be enough. But obviously we want to try and cover all angles.”