BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Ray McKinnon believes a physically and mentally demanding week will have no ill-effects on Hibernian for tomorrow’s trip to face his Raith Rovers side.
Many questioned whether Hibs would be able to recover from the devastating body-blow of losing Sunday’s League Cup final in time for Wednesday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final replay against Inverness Caley Thistle.
However, the Easter Road outfit displayed resilience and character to respond to their Hampden heartache by knocking the Scottish Cup holders out of the competition to book themselves a return to the national stadium against Dundee United next month.
Now, it is back to league business at Stark’s Park for Alan Stubbs’ side as they bid to wrestle second spot in the Championship back from Falkirk.
And McKinnon is convinced Hibs will suffer no hangover from their cup efforts when they travel to Fife tomorrow.
He said: “Will the cup final defeat still be haunting them? No. I think they’ll be delighted they’re in a semi-final, with a chance of winning the Scottish Cup that they’ve not won for over 100 years – they’ll be buoyant.
“Playing midweek will make no difference to them. Players at that level can play Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday. They’re fit, plus their squad is massive and they can rotate that no problem.
“They can bring in four or five players and still be a as strong.”
Raith have lost four times to Hibs so far this season – three times in the league and also in the Scottish Cup.
On each occasion, McKinnon believes his team merited more and he is optimistic their fortunes could change this time round.
The Raith boss, who has Iain Davidson back after concussion, added: “We’ve played really well against them and not got what we deserved. Hopefully that will change on Saturday.
“We’ll just need to be focused and give everything we’ve got.
“They’re a good side, proved by them getting to a cup final and being in a semi-final, and they’ve got a big squad.
“It’s a challenge but it’s a challenge we’re up for.”