Alan Stubbs reckons the only reason Ray McKinnon can’t stop talking about Hibs is to take attention off him being linked with the vacant Dundee United job.
If so, then the ruse is clearly not working. McKinnon’s status as favourite for the Tannadice post has seen him occupy the back pages most of this week.
But Stubbs believes McKinnon is trying to deflect attention from his own uncertain future ahead of today’s play-off quarter-final second leg at Easter Road.
“Why do you think he said all that?” asked Stubbs. “So that you don’t talk about the Dundee United stuff.”
McKinnon believes Stubbs is clearly feeling the pressure after the Hibs manager criticised the referee, an assistant referee as well as the state of the pitch following Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Raith Rovers.
The Raith manager also described Stubbs as “chasing down” the fourth official and being unusually “animated” in his technical area.
By contrast, McKinnon claimed he was innocently drinking a cup of tea throughout the game.
“He didn’t mention the fourth official speaking to him, and all, telling him to calm down?” wondered Stubbs yesterday.
Stubbs, linked on occasion with other clubs himself during his two-year spell at Hibs, was asked how difficult it is to put such speculation to one side.
“I don’t know, we’re all different - though Ray obviously knows me very well,” he said. Turning his attention to this afternoon’s game, when Hibs need to overcome a one goal deficit, Stubbs stressed he was relaxed about the situation.
“We’ve obviously got to score,” he said. “We’ve gone there the other night and the lads were disappointed because they should have taken something from the game. I don’t think there is anyone denying that.
“You don’t have to be a psychologist - although Ray is, it sounds like – to see that.
“When we get chances tomorrow, and I’m sure we will create chances, we’ve got to take them.
“Listen, you come away from that game 0-0 and you’ve still got to do the same thing tomorrow. You’ve still got to win the game. We’ve just got to win it by an extra goal.”