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Hibernian V Kilmarnock at Easter Road Stadium : Match Preview
Hibernian V Kilmarnock - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Backing from fans boosts Butcher
Hibernian boss Terry Butcher has issued a rallying call to the club's supporters to continue backing the team as they prepare for two massive home games.
Kilmarnock come calling on Sunday, before the Easter Road side play host to city rivals Hearts in the New Year Edinburgh derby.
Butcher has been delighted with the support of the Hibs faithful since he replaced Pat Fenlon at the helm last month.
And he believes the fans can make all the difference as he aims to end the festive period on a high with back-to-back wins in their next two matches.
Butcher said: "To the fans, just keep on doing what you are doing.
"Get behind the boys. The boys are trying in every game.
"They're working their socks off, playing for the jersey and doing everything they possibly can.
"Everyone's confidence is high and we can't wait for these two games to start.
"From the fans' point of view, just keep backing us because we're trying to deliver.
"We know that we are going to score more goals, we are going to get goals at home and we are going to win."
Butcher says the mood in the camp is positive following a Boxing Day win at Ross County, a side they also dumped out of the William Hill Scottish Cup a few weeks ago.
He added: "We've got a fantastic spirit in the squad and it's getting better day by day, game by game.
"We want that to improve because we've got two really exciting matches to look forward to to finish off the festive period."
Butcher believes recent results have shown that Hibs are on the right track heading into 2014.
He told HibernianTV: "We took some small steps against St Johnstone and we have taken some bigger baby steps.
"They're not massive strides but we have taken more steps forward.
"We keep on moving forward and I think that's the most important thing.
"If we can continue to do that and keep chipping away, we will be fine."
Chris Johnston believes the clinical form of striker Kris Boyd means Kilmarnock can head for Edinburgh for the second time this festive period with burgeoning confidence.
The Rugby Park side take on Hibernian on Sunday, just days after a morale-boosting 4-0 hammering of Hearts at Tynecastle on Boxing Day.
The victory allowed Allan Johnston's outfit to move to within just four points of St Johnstone in sixth place and only three short of their Easter Road opponents.
And Johnston, who netted a magnificent second for Kilmarnock against Hearts and played a part in the double that took Boyd's tally for the season to 11, insists belief is on the up following three wins from their last four outings.
The 19-year-old winger said: "Sometimes we have struggled to kill teams off but, as you saw against Hearts, it looks like we're maybe getting to grips with that.
"We got two up and scored more, kept creating chances. With someone like Kris Boyd in the team, goals should never be a problem.
"Everybody knows how good he is, a guy of his quality. The goals he scores, it's frightening.
"You know that, if you put the ball into the box, there's a good chance he'll score. He bagged two against Hearts and could have had five.
"If you keep creating chances, he will take them.
"It's great looking at the table now, because we're looking up instead of down. Our aim is to catch the teams in front of us.
"That means going to Hibs and winning. We know it will be a hard game at Easter Road but, if we keep doing the same things we did at Tynecastle, we know we can go there and win."
Johnston netted for the fourth time in his last five games in Thursday's meeting with Hearts, with 20-year-old Rory McKenzie also getting on the scoresheet for a youthful Kilmarnock line-up.
And Johnston, who earned a Scotland Under-21 call-up last month, is eager to maintain his impressive current form.
He added: "I think I do feel established, although it's all about trying to get a run of games now, trying to work hard for the team, create chances and chip in with a few goals.
"It was nice to see Rory get his goal against Hearts because he's worked really hard - and I'm always pleased to score."
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