Dylan McGeouch has cranked up the pressure on Championship leaders Rangers, warning them that Hibs are poised and ready to take advantage of any slip ups.
The Glasgow side started the season in emphatic form, moving 11 points clear of Alan Stubbs’ men at one stage but, since then, Hibs have been chipping away at the deficit, with victory over Livingston on Tuesday moving them to within two points of the table toppers and offering them the chance to leapfrog them this weekend if results go their way.
Hibs are away against Alloa Athletic, while Rangers travel to face Livingston and although Mark Warburton’s team still have a game in hand they will be feeling their rivals’ breath on the back of their neck.
McGeouch says that Hibs will be focused on simply winning their own match but when quizzed about comments made by Rangers rival Andy Halliday, who suggested the Govan club’s management and players had to bear a greater mental burden and higher demands than their capital challengers, the midfielder dismissed the notion.
“I wouldn’t really say they are any different from us. We need to win every game and the fans expect us to win every game and, with the quality we have in the squad, we expect to win every game,” said McGeouch.
“ Obviously Rangers have quality as well and they are doing well but we are keeping the pressure on and we keep getting results so the pressure is on both teams.
“We both know we need to keep getting results week in, week out, or if not then the other team is prepared to take advantage. Their fans think of them as a club that should be winning every game but I think we are just as confident and the fans are just as confident in the squad and we are going into games knowing that it will be disappointing if we don’t win. It’s great that we are challenging like that.”
The exchange of views is not the only one between the clubs, with both managers speaking out about respective budgets in recent days. The tit-for-tat chat led to Hibs assistant manager John Doolan describing the pair as the Chuckle Brothers but, with more important matters to focus on, McGeouch says the players are refusing to be caught up in the charade..
“I’ll be honest, I don’t really pay attention and I’m not just saying that. I’m just interested in playing football and I’m not really caring what is going on. They are going out trying to win games and we are going out there trying to win games and we are on a good run and, as a team, we are just concentrating on the next game and getting ourselves ready and ticking results and teams off, hopefully. We are on a good run and we keep getting results and whatever is said in the press is said in the press but it’s what happens on the football park that matters.”
Coming on as a second half substitute, McGeouch was a key influence as Hibs found a way to defeat Livingston 2-1 on Tuesday night and he admitted they had to dig deep to gain all three points. But the fact that they can triumph when playing well and still win when performing below par is a good sign and shows the character in the squad.
“Some games we are going out and passing teams off the park and scoring three or four goals and sometimes we are digging away and getting results and I think that is the making of a good team, if you can win when you are not playing well. I think last year we might have dropped a few points here and there when we weren’t playing well.
“We have been doing well and taking it game by game, getting the three points and then moving on to the next one. Credit to the full squad because the gaffer has rotated it a few times but the boys are managing to step in and keep the momentum going.
“But if they keep winning their games and we keep winning our games then it will be close.”