KRIS COMMONS is convinced Hibs have what it takes to finish second behind Celtic this season.
The Easter Road outfit have returned to the Premiership in impressive style, kicking off with a home win over Partick Thistle and following that up with Saturday’s 3-2 triumph over Rangers at Ibrox.
Manager Neil Lennon has said the capital club could challenge the likes of Rangers, Aberdeen and city rivals Hearts for the runners-up spot behind champions Celtic.
And Commons, who has revealed he is likely to join Hibs if he recovers from back surgery to continue playing, believes the addition of former Parkhead team-mates Anthony Stokes and Efe Ambrose, and Scotland internationalist Steven Whittaker, as well as Simon Murray’s goals, gives them a real chance of finishing second.
He said: “Are they serious contenders for second? Absolutely. I think they’re right up there.
“They’ve brought in some very experienced international players, players who have played in the Champions League. They’ve recruited well.
“They’ve certainly done well with Simon Murray up front. Double figures at this stage of the season is an absolute phenomenal return.
“If he can keep the foot on the gas, he could be talking about scoring 30 goals by January or February.
“If he does that they’re right in with a chance of finishing second.
“It’s just about trying to maintain standards and consistency over the course of the season.
“It’s all right having a good August and a good September, you’ve got to do it right up until the end of May. That’s the be-all and end-all.
“But I think they’ve put themselves right in there to stake a claim for second.”
Commons had a short spell on loan at Hibs last season, playing five times and scoring twice on the way to the Easter Road side clinching the title and promotion to the top-flight.
And the Scotland cap believes that experience of battling back from the bitter disappointment of relegation in 2014 can benefit the men in green and white now they have returned to the Premiership.
The 33-year-old added to BBC Scotland: “I think the games they’ve had in the Championship for the last three years have given them that edge of fighting for games, the hustle and the bustle and not so much the pretty football on the park.
“They’ve got players in there who can step up, when there’s a scrap and a fight, and you’re expected to win tackles, and go to Ibrox and really put down a marker.
“I think they’ve got the best of both now. They play terrific football, they create chances and score goals, and they can mix it up when they need to. I think it’s a great blend at the minute.”