Goals were on everyone’s minds at Easter Road. Hibs wanted them and Dumbarton aimed to stop them, having been riled by Falkirk manager Peter Houston’s pre-match comments that he feared they might take things easy after securing their Championship status.
“That’s Peter up to his tricks again,” said Stubbs after the 4-0 victory. “I think as a manager you should talk about your own team. I think that is why Stevie [Aitken] is disappointed with the comments. So would I be.”
A hat-trick by James Keatings – although his third was initially credited as an own goal by Dumbarton midfielder Kevin Cawley – and a tap-in by Anthony Stokes gave Hibs the three points and also helped their goal difference.
Falkirk are now just three goals better off than Hibs, with whom they are tied on 67 points with one game left.
Both sides are seeking to finish second to avoid a play-off quarter-final against Raith Rovers, the first leg of which is a week today. There is a final shoot-out on Sunday when Hibs host Queen of the South and Falkirk are at home to Morton. If both teams win and the goals swing is three in Hibs’ favour, second place will be decided by a head-to-head comparison, with the Easter Road side having the better record in four league meetings with Falkirk this season.
“It leaves things on an edge,” said Stubbs. “But we have a fighting chance.
“While the onus is on goal difference, the most important thing is we win on Sunday first.”
Stubbs anticipated a day of drama unfolding at both Easter Road and the Falkirk Stadium on Sunday. “I am sure there will be radios – or is it transistors?” he said. “There will be cheers and bits of quietness, so we will have to wait and see.”
Stubbs left top scorer Jason Cummings on the bench last night. He explained that he was resting the striker in view of the heavy Hibs schedule. “It is the same with a few of them,” he said. “We may do the same on Sunday again. We have a strong squad and I want to keep them as fresh as I can.”
Stubbs was happy with the four goals Hibs scored, even though they had many other chances. “We scored four and if it was not for their goalkeeper [Jamie Ewings], it would have been seven. He has kept it down to four.”