Scott Robertson on road to redemption and new deal

Hibs boss Alan Stubbs celebrates his manager of the month award. Picture: SNSHibs boss Alan Stubbs celebrates his manager of the month award. Picture: SNS
Hibs boss Alan Stubbs celebrates his manager of the month award. Picture: SNS
IT SEEMS likely that Scott Robertson’s aim to secure a new contract with Hibernian would be ample motivation to continue his fine form into the closing months of the campaign. Combine that with an evident desire for redemption in both the league and the cup, and you have the making of an exceptionally hungry footballer.

The twice-capped Scotland international is enjoying a marvellous campaign for Hibs, cutting an energetic figure in midfield and discovering a new-found eye for goal by hitting the net four times in his last 11 outings.

He is unrecognisable from the player who was hauled off after a dismal 32-minute showing at Hampden with Hibs 3-0 down to Falkirk in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup in 2013.

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The 29-year-old will get the chance to exorcise those demons at the national stadium when the sides meet at the same stage of the competition next month.

However, his first priority is to keep the Hibs promotion bandwagon rolling tonight against Livingston as he bids to make amends for his part in last term’s disastrous relegation – and earn an extended stay in the capital.

“I’m playing as well as I have at any time before, and I believe I’m playing with just as good players. The manager seems to be bringing the best out of everybody,” explained Robertson.

“I’m happy with the set-up here. It feels like a club going in the right direction and it’s good to be part of a team on the up – rather than one in a mess that I helped them get into!

“No talks have taken place yet. I’m long enough in the tooth to know that if you go knocking on doors you might get bad news.

“I’m just focused on this season and getting success and if I can contribute then it will go a long way to swaying some peoples’ decisions. If there’s good news coming my way it will come. It depends on where we will be playing our football next year, in terms of the club, so they will make decisions.”

Never mind a contract, Robertson, a Scottish Cup winner with Dundee United in 2010, knows repeating that feat with Hibs will earn him legendary status as they seek to end a 113-year cup curse.

They cruised into the last four with a 4-0 win over Berwick Rangers on Sunday and are now within touching distance of reaching their third final in three calendar years.

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However, Stubbs’ men will need to successfully navigate Falkirk in the semi-final – with the memories of the thrilling 4-3 win over the Bairns two years ago still fresh in Robertson’s mind.

“That was probably the lowest point of my career on a personal level,” he recalled. “It was great achievement to get to a semi-final but, for me, it was a disaster.

“I came off at 3-0 after half an hour, so it’s all bad memories. I hadn’t been in the door that long and I had a terrible game. I deserved to be taken off.

“In the end we won and moved on but I got away with it a bit. A lot of people have not forgotten it though. There was no excuse for that performance. None of the players can really hold their head up high from that day, apart from Leigh Griffiths who got us back in it. We scraped though but, personally, a low point.”

Robertson’s praise for Stubbs was vindicated yesterday by the SPFL’s decision to hand the Hibs boss the Championship manager of the month award following a 100 per cent February, which included wins over Alloa, Rangers and Dumbarton. With Hibs seeking to register their fifth successive clean sheet this evening, their bid for glory in league and cup is built on a defensive stability which has been sorely lacking at the club in recent years. “The defence have been solid and have made good decisions. As a defender, the most important part of the game is being in the right place at the right time and reading the game,” explained Stubbs, of course a centre-half of some repute in his playing days. “The better you can read the game, the better you become.

“But defending starts from the front and, when you keep the ball from the opposition, you have a greater chance of keeping the ball away from your own goal.

“I think overall, our game management has been a lot better. We are not giving silly fouls away when we don’t need to – we are not making rash decisions.

“When you concede goals and you are labelled as ‘fragile’, there is a reason for that. What we’ve done is make a collective pull towards not conceding silly goals. We know we can be very good but it is getting the balance right between attack and defence.”