FORMER Hearts striker Christian Nade taunted Hibs fans yesterday after his goal for Dumbarton helped deliver a potentially fatal blow to their Championship title hopes.
The 31-year-old Frenchman said: “I wish I could play against Hibs every weekend.”
He scored Dumbarton’s second goal as they took a 3-0 lead at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium before holding on to win as Hibs scored twice in the second half. Coupled with Rangers’ 1-0 win over St Mirren at Ibrox, the result leaves Hibs 11 points behind the leaders with ten games still to be played.
And Nade, who scored eight goals in 83 games for Hearts between 2007 and 2010, mischievously credited the travelling supporters as the inspiration for his performance.
He said: “I don’t know why my record against Hibs is good but I think their fans give me the strength to score – I love them.
“It’s because of them, giving me abuse in games, sending me messages, I just have to give them something. They were shouting and singing and I was saying to them: ‘Just wait, I’m coming’.”
For Hibs, the result was a second hammer blow in a week after a 3-0 home loss to Morton on Wednesday but manager Alan Stubbs insisted: “I can’t fault the players’ effort but we can’t be gifting teams three goals and expect to come back from that, which is what we’ve done. We did it in part the other night [against Morton] and we did it today.
“We’re not helping ourselves right now and we’re getting punished. Even after that we obviously showed character but in the end, to try to claw back three, was a big ask.
“It’s obviously very difficult now to go up automatically as champions. Nothing’s really changed too much because our objectives were to go up, whether as No 1 or through the play-offs.”
With Falkirk, in third place, now just two points behind Hibs, Stubbs added: “I neverlook behind. I always look forward.”
For his part, Rangers manager Mark Warburton refused to be too bullish about the title race. His side face Raith Rovers at Ibrox tomorrow and he said: “We can’t controlwhat goes on around us, we can only control what we do and that will be to prepare well and deliver another good performance against another good team. If we can do our job one game at a time we will be in a good place, it is as simple as that.
“There is a gap, there is no point denying it. It is really good for us but there are 30 points left on the table so we have to go one game at a time.
“If in two or three weeks’ time, if we have played five and won five then we are in good shape.”