Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs has insisted chief executive Leeann Dempster and chairman Rod Petrie should share the credit he is receiving for leading the Easter Road club to their first League Cup final for nine years.
Stubbs has been widely praised for his work since taking charge of Hibs in the aftermath of their relegation from the Premiership in 2014. Saturday’s 2-1 win over St Johnstone secured a trip to Hampden on 13 March for Stubbs’ side, who also remain in contention for promotion from the Championship and face a last-16 Scottish Cup tie away to Hearts next weekend.
“We’ve made rapid progress in a short space of time, but only because I’ve been backed to do that,” said Stubbs. “Without the Board’s support, without Leeann and Rod and all the people involved, I don’t think we would be in this position. But I planned for it. For us to get to a major final is great.
“Since I’ve come in to the club, Leeann and Rod have been so supportive of what I’ve wanted to do, what I’ve wanted to implement, different ideas. Without that support, you don’t make progress as quickly as you want to. To get to a major final, we have done it the hard way. We’ve now beaten three Premiership teams to get there and we are going to have to beat another one in the final.”
Stubbs was gratified by the resilience shown by his players as they regrouped to win the tie through John McGinn’s second-half goal after Jason Cummings’ opener from the penalty spot had been cancelled out by St Johnstone defender Joe Shaughnessy.
The former Everton coach believes it was the perfect response to those who have questioned the mental strength of Hibs in key matches over recent years.
“Since I’ve come here, and I can understand the line of questioning, the team and previous Hibs teams have had the label of being bottlers,” he said.
“It’s not something I would like to be labelled with. So it’s just about getting that perception completely wiped away, and we are doing that.”
Hibs return to league action tomorrow night when they face Morton at Cappielow. Stubbs is determined that Hibs’ ambitions in both major domestic cup competitions will not distract them from their primary objective of getting back into the Premiership this year. “There is no way we will lose sight of promotion being our priority,” he said.