ALAN Stubbs has vowed to take Hibs up as Championship winners next year, confident that his men will be capable of emulating the feats of their capital rivals Hearts and stave off the uncertainty of another play-off, writes Moira Gordon.
Stubbs said: “I think that the team’s good enough. I want to try to take all these play-off games out of the equation and do it the way Hearts have done it this year.
‘We are good enough to go up automatically next year’
“I honestly feel that if we can keep them together, we’ll go up automatically next year.
“You know me, I’m not one for making predictions I don’t believe in. Analyse the season from the day I walked in, to the last minute of the last game, and if you do that, I think you’ll see that we have made progress.
“I’m not going to say we’ve done a brilliant job because that would be going up but I think we’ve done reasonably well. I think the fans appreciate that.
“You saw the reaction they gave the players at the end and the players haven’t seen that for quite a bit. That’s an indicator.”
A stuttering start to this league campaign left Hibs fighting a losing battle to catch Robbie Neilson’s Hearts – but with continuity and better planning Stubbs is more optimistic about the future.
He said: “We lost out on being a real competitive force from the beginning of the season. We just didn’t give ourselves enough time and preparation to get close to Hearts.
“But I think we’ve proved over the season we’re capable of beating anyone. If Rangers are still in this division, it would be between us and them. But I’ll relish the challenge. We’ll see over the next week or so who it is, Motherwell or Rangers.
“But I believe in these players, I think they’re good enough, I think they’ve got their best years ahead of them and I’m quite excited by that.”
Now it will be a case of holding on to the best of them, including Championship Player of the Year Scott Allan.
Stubbs said: “We just need to start again and hopefully do what Hearts did by winning the league comfortably.
“The fans are back with us, we have good management and that ambition hasn’t changed for me.”