Hibs will beat drop, claims Butcher

28 April 2014 12:31

Hibernian manager Terry Butcher says he is still "utterly convinced" his side will avoid relegation from the Scottish Premiership following their 2-1 Edinburgh derby defeat to Hearts on Sunday.

The Easter Road side slipped to their sixth straight defeat as a first-half double from Callum Paterson helped Hearts, who are already relegated, to their fourth derby win of the season.

The team that finishes second bottom will face a play-off to keep their place in the top flight against a Championship side. Defeat means Hibs are just one point above Kilmarnock, who currently occupy 11th position and would be bottom of the table if it weren't for Hearts points punishment.

However, despite the fact his side have won just once in their last 15 matches, Butcher is adamant they will avoid the drop.

"I think we deserved something from the game today but that's the way things are going for us at the moment," the Hibs manager said.

"We've got three games to come and we can't do anything about this one now. It hurts like hell but we have take that form and confidence from the way that we played in this derby match into the next three matches.

"I'm not looking at a points target or anything else like that. We've got to take some belief from this game and I think the players will do. I know they will be hurting because of the reaction from lots of people but it's their call and they can react in whatever way they like.

"We've got a job to do and we want to finish that job off. It's going to take the confidence and belief and bottle that we've shown in this match. If we take that forward into the next three games then we'll be alright.

"I'm still utterly convinced that we're going to be fine but we must make sure that we play at the level of performance that we did today, if not higher, and also train at that level."

- Celtic on course for century -

The Jambos' win means they have mustered the same amount of points as their rivals, with only the 15-point deduction handed down to Hearts at the beginning of the season for entering administration separating the Scottish capital sides.

Paterson headed home his first from a corner in the 37th minute and four minutes later the Hibs defence showed they hadn't learnt their lesson when they allowed Paterson to again nod past Ben Williams to double the Jambos' advantage.

Jordon Forster, who wrongly had a goal chopped off in the last Edinburgh derby, pulled one back with a powerful header in the 69th minute before substitute James Collins blew a late chance to equalise with a fresh-air kick eight yards out and was then denied by a superb Jamie MacDonald save in stoppage time.

In Sunday's other game, champions Celtic remain on course to break the 100-point barrier following their 6-0 demolition of Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Parkhead.

Anthony Stokes scored a first-half double before converting a second-half penalty to seal his hat-trick.

Aaron Doran saw his spot-kick saved by Fraser Forster before Leigh Griffiths made it 4-0 in the 68th minute.

Two goals in a minute then sealed the win with Efe Ambrose heading in the fifth before substitute Teemu Pukki sent a low drive past Dean Brill seconds later, straight from the kick-off.

Source: AFP