'We are not going to kid on' - Hibs facing a fight for top six place

It is easy to acknowledge the excitement the Scottish Cup semi final draw has generated in the capital but as Chris Cadden mulled over defeat at Pittodrie he said there is too much riding on the league games that precede that Hampden showcase for Hibs players to allow themselves to get swept up in that.

"First it's Dundee United at Easter Road and we are not going to kid on it's not a big game now,” said the right-sided marauding defender. “It's the business end of the season and you have to be up for these sort of games.”

The international break will allow the Easter Road club to lick wounds and then work on a plan of attack ahead of the run into the league split.

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Losing to Aberdeen on Saturday, they squandered the early advantage gained after Cadden’s deep cross into the box and Josh Doig’s positioning at the back post forced an error from home full-back Calvin Ramsey, who stretched out his leg and diverted the ball into his own goal.

Chris Cadden is shadowed by Connor McLennan during Hibs' 2-1 defeat at Aberdeen. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Two spot kicks - one a more dubious call than the other - were converted by Lewis Ferguson and set the Pittodrie side on their way to the first win of the Jim Goodwin era. With 10 minutes remaining Vicente Besuijen made sure of it, dragging Hibs deeper into the battle for a place in the top six as United leapfrogged them into fourth. It also allowed Aberdeen to close the gap on the teams above them and, with two round of fixtures remaining, any three clubs from seven could make the cut.

Which is why Cadden insists Hibs have to up their performance levels and push the cup derby to the back of their minds. Especially as a league trip to Tynecastle, following the Dundee United encounter, could yet decide their fate.

"The semi-final is there and it’s something to look forward to but these two games are huge. We have got to focus on them as the semi-final will take care of itself when it comes around.

"There will be a big build-up for a big occasion but first and foremost the league is the most important thing and we want that top six place.

"We wouldn't want to miss out on that so we’ve got to go and win these big games.”

Which is why Saturday’s display, the sending off of Ryan Porteous and the result were all so disappointing.

Defensively uncertain, after the bolder and more incisive performance at Fir Park the previous week, they again found it tough to create many clear-cut chances.

While Porteous’ red card, which the club seem determined to appeal, unsettled them further.

Cadden knows how big a loss the 22 year-old could be if he is suspended for the next few games. But he admits things could have been worse.

“Porto's an integral part of the defence. He's a big loss for us. It was a quiet dressing room. We were all disappointed. But Paul Hanlon has come back so we are in a better position now with him available.

"It would have been good to get right into it but with the injury problems we've got, it might be good to take a wee step back [for the international break] and analyse things.”

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