IT’S not often that Hibernian travel to Glasgow as favourites to win a match. Certainly not when they are up against Celtic or Rangers.
But tomorrow night, they head through to Govan with the chance to make it three victories in succession over the Ibrox side. They will be hoping they can do it but manager Alan Stubbs acknowledges that others are expecting it.
“People will look at what we have done in previous games and expect us to win on Friday. But what we have done in the previous games will have no bearing on this one – it’s totally different,” said Stubbs.
In the first head-to-head of the season, in the Challenge Cup, Rangers took the honours with an extra-time winner, but since then Hibs have won both Championship meetings, bossing both fixtures and accumulating a 7-1 aggregate scoreline.
“In the three games we have tried to focus on ourselves and I will sound like a broken record because it will be exactly the same this time,” said Stubbs.
“People will look at us winning 3-1 and 4-0 and think it’s a matter of us just turning up to win the game. We’ve done that in every game we have played this season. Other people can expect us to win – that’s not what I am saying. I expect us to go there and put on a performance and if we do that I know we can give Rangers problems. But I’m also expecting a response from Rangers to last week.
“They have had a really bad time but they still have good players and are second in the league. They will come again. They maybe are suffering from a lack of confidence but Kenny [McDowall] will be doing his utmost to keep them in second position or that top spot from now until the end of the season.” Hibs are unbeaten in the league since early December and have suffered just two defeats in the last 21 games, one of them a penalty shoot-out defeat at the hands of top-flight Dundee United in the League Cup. A win in Glasgow would see them leapfrog their hosts and move into second place, albeit Rangers would still have three games in hand.
“I’ve said it all season, we go out to win every game. I am not interesting in scraping a draw, we want to get three points,” added Stubbs. “We want to start the game well and put Rangers under pressure from the first moment to the last. We want to get the ball down and play.
“I think it’s too simplistic to say it’s a good time to play them. We are not worried about what is happening with Rangers on and off the pitch.
“We are going there to focus on what we know we can do to win a game of football.”