Alan Stubbs last night admitted his floundering Hibernian side must pull out four victories from their final four Championship matches if they are to have any chance of overcoming Falkirk in the race for second place after a dramatic 2-2 draw between the sides at Easter Road.
Stubbs took heart from what he believed was an improved performance from his team, but the Bairns finished a pulsating 90 minutes as clear favourites for the runners-up place after goals from David McCracken and Bob McHugh in the final four minutes cancelled out Jason Cummings’ double.
Asked where it left the battle for second, and the easier route through the play-offs that would be the prize for the victors, Stubbs said: “It hasn’t really done much, to be honest. We’ve still got four games to go and we’ve got four games to eat into the points tally and to eat into the goals tally.
“Realistically, we’ve got to win them all but we were looking at that anyway, even before the game. So, celebrations are for the middle of May, not for tonight. There’s a lot of football to be played yet.”
Hibs were the better side after Cummings was gifted the opener and should have seen out the victory when the striker added a controversial penalty against Falkirk’s ten men with only nine minutes remaining. But it was yet another match without a win for the capital side, whose horrible run now stretches to just one success in eight attempts.
“First of all, it was a marked improvement, in terms of performance, from recent weeks,” Stubbs claimed. “For 85 minutes, we were good and then we’ve shot ourselves in the foot with two lapses in concentration, really.
“If you look at the game for 85 minutes we’ve played very well and I and the players should be talking about three points. Unfortunately they haven’t got what they deserved.”
Peter Houston is not normally one for betraying his inner excitement but the Falkirk manager’s reaction to his side’s late comeback, celebrating in front of the delirious and noisy away support, was a clear indication of how important he thinks their draw could prove.
“I was pumped up, wasn’t I?” he said. “It was brilliant. You’re down to ten men, you’re losing 2-0 and so I think you probably know how I feel!
“It just sums up the character of the players this season. We’re never beaten.
“We were down to 10 men but we brought on young Kevin O’Hara and had three strikers on the pitch, so we finished the game in a 4-2-3 formation,.
“There’s no point in losing 2-1. I’m a great believer if you’re down to 10 men and you get something to get back into it, then just go for it. And there’s the rewards.”