HIBERNIAN head coach Alan Stubbs has given supporters a personal guarantee that he will guide the team to at least a Championship play-off place this season.
The Leith outfit moved back into the top four last weekend for the first time since the opening week of the campaign following a convincing victory over Livingston.
An indifferent start to the season has left Hibs 14 points adrift of leaders Hearts ahead of today’s second Edinburgh derby of the season, and dampened hopes of a return to the Premiership by virtue of a title triumph.
Hibs suffered relegation during the summer following a play-off final loss to Hamilton, but Stubbs is adamant his side will be in contention to climb a rung on the Scottish football ladder come May.
He said: “I know, come the end of the season, we’ll be where we want to be, I honestly believe that.
“And I know with the group of players we have got and with January coming up, that we will be in those positions.
“I have no doubt about that whatsoever. That’s the most important thing. What position will we be in? I’ll tell you in May.
“It doesn’t make a difference if we are 4th, 3rd or 2nd because we’d be in the playoffs. I’d like to be going up as champions.”
Stubbs has not even entertained falling 17 points adrift of early pacesetters Hearts this afternoon.
He added: “It would be difficult to make up 17 points but I am looking more at 11 points than 17. That’s the way we all have to think.
“So come Sunday at 2pm, we’ll hopefully be 11 points behind Hearts. That’s the mind-set I’m looking for, that’s what I want to cement into the players. It will be drummed into them how important the game is but not to the extent that it overrides the fact that the way we’ll get a result is by performing.”