Terry Butcher last night urged fans to attend Easter Road in large numbers on Saturday as Hibs face one final attempt to avoid a relegation play-off place. The manager conceded his team now have “no margin for error” after taking only one point from four bottom six fixtures.
Results tonight could leave them in greater peril but last night’s 1-0 defeat to Ross County meant Hibs dropped to ninth place, leaving them still two points above Kilmarnock, who play St Mirren this evening. Partick Thistle can take themselves out of the relegation play-off equation with a victory against Hearts tonight.
But Butcher was focused only on Hibs’ task on Saturday, after they failed to secure safety in Dingwall last night. Instead it was the home team who were celebrating after ensuring that they will play top-flight football next season for the third consecutive season.
“We have certainly made it difficult for ourselves with this situation but we can redeem all that with a win on Saturday,” said Butcher, who watched his side fall to a second-half penalty from Richard Brittain.
“It is a must win game but we are in front of our home crowd and our last two performances at home have been very good,” he added. “We will have a big support there and they will certainly get behind the boys because we need that now.
“We know the situation and we will dig deep. There is no margin for error now. We will certainly have a go because we know what is stake. I am confident we can do it and I always have been confident. I thought we’d get out of it before now but it wasn’t to be. But we certainly have enough there that we can get ourselves out of this hole. It is going to take brave men and courage. We have to make sure we do the business. We have taken only one point out of nine and it hurts. Everything is positive now about Saturday and now the pressure is all on Kilmarnock. We’ve got another bite of the cherry and have to take it.”
Ross County manager Derek Adams was celebrating last night after his side secured safety. “It’s great to be playing Premiership football again next season,” he said. “It’s a huge for this football club to stay up twice in a row – it’s bigger than anything I would have imagined. To come up and finish fifth last year and now wherever we finish now is a great achievement and testimony to the players and the staff.
“It is huge when you consider the population and fan base when you compare it to a club like Hibernian. I wouldn’t want to be going into that final day. I’m glad we did it tonight because it won’t be a nice feeling on Saturday.”
BT Sport Q&A: Rangers | Hibs | Neil Lennon
THIS week’s BT Sport video Q&A looks at whether Rangers fans will buy season tickets and if the club’s supporters will force a change of ownership.
The form of Hibs under Terry Butcher is also examined following the Easter Road side’s derby defeat while the future of Neil Lennon is also considered following the announcement that his assistant Johan Mjallby is to depart at the end of the season.
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