Speaking to the media today, Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs once again insisted that his side still have all to play for as they look to overturn a 2-0 defeat against Rangers in the second leg of their Premiership Play-Off Semi-Final.
After Stubbs’ men succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at Ibrox on Wednesday night, the former Celtic man defended his team’s performance on the night:
“I thought we started the game really well. I thought we played on the front foot. We had a great chance at nil nil with Jason, moments like that in games, especially big games you have to take. I thought the response to going a goal down at that time in the game was good in the second half.”
Stubbs also spoke of his desire to make it an afternoon to remember at Easter Road on Saturday.
“I want tomorrow [to be a day], where you look back in years to come and think ‘I was there. I was there when it was turned around’. If you don’t believe in that there’s no point in saying it. I believe we are firmly right in this tie.”
Stubbs himself is no stranger to overcoming deficits in play-offs. During his playing career in the 1990s, Bolton – his side at the time – trailed Reading 2-0 with 15 minutes to go in the Division One playoff final, but a remarkable turnaround saw the game forced to extra time with Bolton running out 4-3 winners. Stubbs was keen to reflect on ties such as this, and referenced back to Liverpool’s famous Champions League win in Istanbul, an event the Evertonian admitted he “hated bringing up”.
Centre half Liam Fontaine saw positives in the conditioning of the Rangers players, saying the Rangers players were only human and this could be a factor in the closing stages of the tie.
“I think there’s going to be tiredness. If they say they’re not tired, at the end of the day we’re all humans and not just physically, but mentally they’ll be tired as well.”
Speaking about whether or not the Hibees’ break at La Manga has left any rustiness, Fontaine only saw positives in the squad’s break.
“I actually felt really good personally. I thought we played well as a team. We did have the time off, I thought it was handled in the right way. Time will tell how fresh we’re going to be for tomorrow.”
Both Fontaine and Stubbs, along with the rest of the Hibs squad will be hoping that any tiredness in the Rangers squad will be seized upon as the Hibees look to return to the Premiership at the first time of asking.
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