‘It’s been a question of when for a long time,’ admits Marvin Bartley as Hibs finally close in on Championship title

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MARVIN BARTLEY has joked that Hibs have been dragging out the Championship title race to make it more interesting for the supporters.

But the Easter Road powerhouse is now in a hurry to finally clinch promotion back to the Premiership.

Neil Lennon’s men have a comfortable nine-point lead at the top of the table and have been champions-elect for some time.

But, with seven draws from their last 10 league outings, the capital outfit have made heavy weather of shaking off Morton and Falkirk below them once and for all.

Victory at home to Queen of the South this weekend will finally remove any lingering doubts if Falkirk drop points against form team St Mirren and Bartley is eager to at last seal the Scottish Cup holders’ return to the top-flight.

He said: “We’ve had an awful lot of draws this season, which is frustrating for us and frustrating for the fans.

“But we’re still clear and if we win our next game that should be enough.

“We’ve had too many draws and it’s frustrating, but we’re still top.

“It’s been a question of ‘when’ for a long time, so I’ll not count my chickens before they’ve hatched.

“We should have won it by now, but I think we’ve been making it interesting for the fans for a bit longer!”

REALISTIC

Head coach Neil Lennon has been critical of his attackers’ inability to kill teams off in recent weeks after Hibs have stuttered to draws with Dumbarton, Dunfermline and Morton twice.

Bartley agrees but insists the Easter Road men should not be expected to simply sweep opposition aside.

The midfielder added to Hibs TV: “One of the basics is you’ve got to score goals to win games and we missed a lot of chances [in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Morton]. We should be doing better with them.

“It’s a competitive league and I think people look at us being probably the biggest team in the league, and being Hibs, and think we should win every game.

“Football’s not like that. It’s 11 men against 11 men when you go onto that field and it’s very difficult to break teams down.

“You see it at the top of football. When teams play against Barcelona they sit behind the ball and counter on them and beat them.

“So, you’ve got to be realistic about things.”

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