08 Feb Hibs’ big-game bottlers tag is unfair, insists Lovell
Stuart Lovell believes Hibs showed their big-game bottlers tag is unfair after they staged a tremendous fight back against Hearts in the Edinburgh derby.
Paul Hanlon’s late strike earned Hibs a replay at Easter Road and Lovell believes that makes them now favourites to progress to the quarter-finals at the expense of their city rivals.
Hibs have been accused of not having the character to perform in big games but Lovell believes performances this season, the recent victory over St Johnstone and the fight back against Hearts shows that this can’t be levelled at this current Hibs side.
“Is it the bottlers tag unfair? Yeah, how many games are we basing this on?” he told PLZ Soccer.
“They played Rangers on the opening day of the season in the Challenge Cup but is that a big game? I don’t know. In the grand scheme of things not really.
“They lost at Ibrox but they’ve won against St Johnstone in the semi-final recently.
“I’m not convinced at the ‘bottler’ tag I think that stems back way before Alan Stubbs’ time and I don’t think these current players deserve that.”
Lovell believes the momentum is now with his former side and fancies Stubbs’ men to eliminate their city rivals at Easter Road.
“2-2 was probably a fair result the momentum is with Hibs because they have home advantage in the replay,” he said.
“Hearts were strong favourites at Tynecastle but now I see it as completely flip-flopped. I think Hibs are favourites.
“There’s no guarantee of course but they have the majority of the crowd behind them.
“They’ve got a very strong record at home I don’t think they have anything to be scared of. It’s a great opportunity to put one over their biggest rivals.
“Hearts are a powerful team but I think Hibs will take huge confidence from that draw and you can’t ignore a player like Anthony Stokes – he’s a brilliant signing and I thought he was really good at times.
“He gives them a little bit of a class edge they haven’t had before. I think with Stokes in the team I would fancy them to win the replay.”