RECENT testy exchanges between Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs and his Rangers counterpart Mark Warburton have seen the duo jokingly described as the Chuckle Brothers by the Easter Road No 2 John Doolan.
But after Hibs closed the the gap on Rangers to just two points courtesy of a 2-1 home win over Livingston last night it is Stubbs who can afford to chuckle – although he insisted he wasn’t going to turn the remainder of the Championship title race into a pantomime.
“We’re doing OK,” said the Hibs manager, keen to take the three points but play down any hype. “We’re going from game to game and I think we’re concentrating on doing what we’ve got to do. We’re letting you guys create all the headlines and sometimes, when you let your assistant talk, it creates other headlines. It’s all a bit of fun. But I don’t intend doing pantomime at this time of year.”
The victory was the seventh league win on the bounce for the Easter Road side and it was a result of endeavour and belief rather than the fluid football they have been producing of late. While he welcomed the attitude and application, Stubbs stressed that people shouldn’t get carried away with the closing of the gap on the league leaders.
“To be honest, I couldn’t care less about it,” he said. “All I’m interested in is winning games and the players doing what they have to do. It’s great for everybody and, yes, we’ve managed to get within two points, but what’s that achieving? We’ve achieved nothing, just narrowed a gap. We’re not going to win anything right now
“It’s going to be a good battle. I’m hoping we’re going to take it to the wire. I think that’s what everyone wants. People look at us and Rangers but [third-placed] Falkirk have been fantastic, they’re very close in behind us. They won’t be that far away. But our squads probably will be the big deciding factor.”
James Keatings struck twice to make it five goals in two games and Stubbs says he always believes that his team can get goals – if they remain patient.
“We’ve got goals in the team. And, if I was a striker in this team, I would know I would get chances. I told the players at half-time, you’ve got to be patient. I felt as if we were going after it too much rather than just letting it happen. Which sounds a bit daft. I don’t think we were at our best but we’ve still created quite a few opportunities. We knew it was going to be about being patient.”