TERRY Butcher feels Dingwall victories against Ross County are a bit like buses – you wait five years and then two come along at once.
The Hibernian manager never savoured a win at the County ground while in charge at Inverness, but enjoyed that winning feeling there yesterday for the second time.
Appropriately, then, a mishap with the team bus set the scene for a crucial victory – and helped the players focus after the anguish of losing young team-mate David Paul.
The 18-year-old died in his sleep before Christmas, and Butcher revealed the players wanted to win in his honour.
A breakdown at Broxden services en-route north would have usually been seen as a drama, but it was kept in perspective.
Butcher said: “For five years, I tried to get a win here and then in five weeks now we’ve had two. The bus trip up today wasn’t the best. The team coach broke down at Broxden services.
“So we had to wait for an hour and 20 minutes for a replacement. There was a Harvester restaurant there. The guy was cashing up from the previous night and we asked to get some food. All he had was bacon butties and sausage sandwiches, so we had the pre-match meal at about 10:30 am, with tea, coffee and juice.
“My point is that there was a wee obstacle today in football terms for us and for our routine.
“But we have had a major obstacle with the death of young David Paul this week.
“We wanted to win today for David, that was the big thing. The players wanted the minute’s silence before the game and we wanted to do it for David’s family because that is what he would have wanted – a Hibs win.
“I said to these boys they are the lucky ones, having careers – he’s never had a career and never will. So it was nice to do it for him, in his honour.
“The message this week has been all about overcoming obstacles. I’m not the sort that would have planned the bus breaking down. I didn’t sabotage it. But it helped focus the players on the game.”
Defensive strength was a theme again for Hibs, but they also scored two goals for the first time since late September against Stranraer in the League Cup. Butcher said: “That’s four clean sheets out of six, and only two goals against.
“Ben Williams didn’t have a save to make as such, although County have hit the frame of the goal twice. They have otherwise not cut through us. It was a case of whether we could get goals at the other end and Paul Cairney’s deliveries were right on the spot.”
County manager Derek Adams said: “Two goals were lost from corner kicks. We’ve lost our men and they’ve been able to score.
“Other than that, there wasn’t much in the game.”
He added: “We hit the woodwork twice and feel that at least one of them deserved to go in given the pressure we had.
“But we can’t get away from the fact we’ve lost two goals from two players not man-marking their men.”