Hibs boss Alan Stubbs rejects Peter Houston penalty argument

Hibs manager Alan Stubbs has dismissed speculation linking him with Blackburn Rovers. Picture: Ross Brownlee/SNS
Hibs manager Alan Stubbs has dismissed speculation linking him with Blackburn Rovers. Picture: Ross Brownlee/SNS
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Alan Stubbs knows it is something managers want to believe is the case. But he has dismissed Falkirk opposite number Peter Houston’s assertion that penalty decisions such as the one that went against Hibs on Tuesday are evened out over a season.

“I wish,” said Stubbs yesterday, ahead of tonight’s play-off second-leg with Falkirk.

The Hibs coach hopes Alan Muir’s decision not to penalise David McCracken’s handball does not have a bearing on the final outcome. The teams, locked at 2-2, are battling it out to face Kilmarnock in the Premiership play-off final.

“It’s not as easy as that unfortunately,” added Stubbs, with reference to Houston’s belief that injustices are evened out. “I think people say it but try telling that to a manager who’s not had them given to him.

“If you have a manager who has had a number of penalties given to them, well then that’s Peter’s opinion...”

When compared to the squabbling that has defined many of their recent meetings, this latest difference in opinion represented only a mild disagreement.

Stubbs, who has Marvin Bartley available again after a tight hamstring saw him miss the first leg, was otherwise circumspect about the penalty-that-never-was.

“It has gone and if you feel injustice that can lead you into a false pretence,” he said. “It has happened and it is gone.”

Stubbs also shrugged off more speculation linking him with moves away in the summer, with Blackburn Rovers now credited with an interest. “I wish they would fill the back pages with something else,” he said. “I would not even say it is pleasant to read. It does not make any difference to me. I really am 100 per cent focused on tomorrow.”

Stubbs offered few clues about who will be playing in goal for Hibs this evening, after Conrad Logan blotted his copybook with a bad mistake to gift Falkirk an equaliser on Tuesday. Logan’s expertise at facing penalties – with tonight’s clash potentially ending with a shoot-out – should see him retain his place.

With an impish grin, Stubbs said: “Mark [Oxley] has been my No 1 but Conrad has come in and done very well. There is no reason to doubt whether Conrad or Mark will be playing tomorrow….”