BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
JASON Cummings insists Hibs’ play-off opponents will be ‘scared’ of playing the Easter Road side, despite their failure to meet expectations and finish second in the Championship.
Alan Stubbs’ men must now face Raith Rovers in a two-legged quarter-final to see who goes on to face Falkirk, who clinched the runners-up spot above Hibs on Sunday on goal difference.
With the Bairns defeating Morton 1-0, a 4-0 victory for Hibs over Queen of the South would have been enough to seal second.
But they could only manage a 2-0 win, thanks to second-half goals from Niklas Gunnarsson and substitute Cummings.
It means the capital outfit will have to prevail in three two-legged play-offs – in the space of just three weeks – if they are to achieve their goal of promotion back to the Premiership.
And Cummings, whose missed penalty in the play-off with Hamilton Accies two years ago consigned Hibs to the Championship, is convinced they can make it third time lucky after last season’s play-off defeat to Rangers.
He said: “I’ve been there a couple of times and the last two play-offs have not gone the way we wanted.
“So, hopefully this time we can turn it around.
“There’s a wee bit more hype to the games and a wee bit more pressure.
“But I’ll just take it as another game and another chance to score, so I’m looking forward to it.
“You can’t fear it. I think we’ll be going in there as favourites and, if anything, the other teams will be scared to play us – I wouldn’t say any of the clubs would want to play us.
“That puts us in a good mindset.
“I think we’ve got the players here to go on and get promoted.”
Much was made of the benefit of finishing second, giving the successful side 10 days of rest before their involvement in the semi-final.
It was a scenario Hibs had last year but it did not prove beneficial, as they went on to lose their first-leg against Rangers 2-0 and could not turn things around at Easter Road.
And Cummings insists he and his team-mates are not going to get too hung up on failing to finish in the coveted runners-up position.
He added: “We finished second last year and sometimes it works in your favour if you’ve finished third, because you’re still active, still playing games.
“So, you’ve not really got time to think and worry about it. You just get chucked back in and concentrate on who you’re playing.
“That shouldn’t worry the boys. It could turn out a good thing for us.”