Hibs boss wary of Rangers have pointing out improvement in Steven Gerrard’s side

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Hibs head coach Jack Ross hopes his side bring their A game – but just hopes his players are not dazzled by Rangers’ ability to flip between different plans of attack.

Ross believes the early Premiership leaders are more dangerous this season after praising their flexibility up front.

An encouraging start to the campaign by Hibs, who sit three points adrift of the leaders, will give the hosts the belief they can cause problems of their own against Steven Gerrard’s side.

Hibs head coach Jack Ross | Hibs news
Hibs are third top of the league

But Ross concedes trying to contain them at the other end is a huge challenge.

He said: “Their defensive record is the one that’s grabbed the attention because they don’t concede and the fact they’ve broken a long-standing Scottish record in that respect. 

“But I think they’ve got slightly more variation in their play going forward, which has helped them. 

“I think that was even clear from the opening game of the season against Aberdeen, so that variation makes it an even bigger challenge because they’ve always had good players in attacking areas. 

“The top, top teams are lucky that usually their first game plan is the one that wears teams down but that’s not always going to work and it’s about being able to change – not even whether it’s the system, just that variety within your play sometimes. 

“It’s difficult because you can’t always defend all aspects of it, you can’t be short and long at the same time, and wide and narrow at the same time. 

“I think variation in their play has helped and certainly everything I’ve watched this season, they’ve had that.

“Even with Steven’s recruitment it has reflected that, having that increased variation. 

“Like every coaching staff and manager, I’m sure they’ve gone and looked at last season and thought, ‘how do we get even better?’ And so far they seemed to have managed to do that.”

Sunday’s clash is the acid test for Hibs following a hugely encouraging start to the season that has seen the capital side collect 16 points.

Last month’s defeat to Aberdeen, which came during the disruption caused by Alex Gogic’s initial positive coronavirus test, remains the only blot on their copybook.

A trip to reigning champions Celtic awaits Hibs next weekend and Ross is relishing back-to-back clashes against the best in the country.

Ross, who remains without midfielder Scott Allan due to a health issue, added: “I think it will be a good indiction of the progress we’ve made, the point totals and results to date would suggest we are making good progress.

“It’s an exiting one for us, I would much rather go into this test on the back of what we’ve achieved this season rather than being low on confidence and low on results.

“It has happened frequently over a number years that teams will produce what are perceived to be shock results but there are probably not that many teams that are able to achieve consistent results against the Old Firm in recent times. 

“First and foremost it’s about creating a culture where you win matches consistently full stop. 

“So far we’re doing that and the next stage is to make sure that points total does not grind to a halt just because we’re playing against Rangers and Celtic. 

“Having them back-to-back, that’s the thing we don’t want to happen. “We want to make sure we’re taking points from that calibre of opposition.”

Alex Gogic, meanwhile, insists Hibs are out to prove they are good enough to fight fire with fire in the top of the table clash.

The Cypriot midfield enforcer said: “We’ve started very well this season and I think the gaffer is right to say we must have a go. 

“I think we must have a go at any team, and hopefully we get a result on Sunday.

“They’ve kept all clean sheets, but we haven’t conceded through open play so I think both teams defensively are very good, and now it’s just trying to prove who’s better.”

 
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