James Keatings was always confident Alan Stubbs’ decision to ring the changes against the Championship’s bottom team would not end up leaving the head coach with egg on his face.
Keatings returned to the Hibs first team yesterday for the 3-0 defeat of Alloa Athletic – one of seven changes to the side that defeated Hearts in the Scottish Cup last week – and was certain there was no chance this plan might “backfire” as they begin a run of four league games in ten days.
“The manager knows his strongest team but this is a strong squad of players and we have added to it,” said the striker. “It is up to the manager to pick the team he sees fit. It was never a worry that the result would backfire on us after so many changes.
“We are a confident squad and we fully believe in the boys that come into the team that we can get the job done and that’s what happened. Every player can step up to the plate at any time.”
Stubbs, meanwhile, is untroubled by a report in one Sunday newspaper yesterday that the pitch at Hampden Park is once again in very poor condition ahead of next month’s League Cup final, where Hibs will take on Ross County.
“I saw it in the Celtic v Ross County game and the weather before that was really severe,” he said. “We’ve all had a lot of rain and all the pitches are starting to show signs of it.
“Three weeks is a long time. They can get that pitch ready. I don’t think there’s going to be too many games on it between now and then. I’m sure they’ll be working very hard to make sure the pitch is in pristine condition for a showcase final.”