Smith: Hibs capable of mixing it

23 October 2009 07:45
Victory for the Edinburgh club would allow them to leapfrog the defending champions into pole position in the Scottish Premier League.

Remaining there is unlikely but Rangers boss Walter Smith does expect Hughes' men to be challenging for the 'best of the rest' tag this term.

Smith said: "This year I think they will be challenging the likes of Hearts, Dundee United and Aberdeen for European places.

"That'll be a big target for them this season and I think they've shown a capability of pushing for that so far.

"Hibs have had an excellent start to the season and John already has a good team coming together.

"He has pulled in a couple of players and brought them together with the existing players in his squad really well."

Smith believes Hibs' impressive start is largely down to the fine form of two of the SPL's best strikers.

He told Rangers News: "For me, Derek Riordan is as good a forward as there is in this country when he is on form.

"He, along with Anthony Stokes, adds to the goalscoring capabilities within Hibernian's team.

"Stokes has shown over a period of time he can find the net too and the fact Hibs have him and Riordan in their team means they should do well this term."

Hibs boss Hughes knows the crowd could be Rangers' worst enemy tomorrow if things do not go their way.

But the former Celtic defender will not send his side out to frustrate the home support.

He said: "Keeping the crowd quiet doesn't come into it. What comes into it for me is how we start the match, who's got that self-belief, who's got that confidence, who's got that trust that we can go there and win the football match?

"If they don't, they shouldn't be putting that strip on."

However, Hughes has vowed not to go all out for the victory.

"I'm caught between a rock and a hard place, aren't I?" he said. "Everybody is saying, 'Rangers had a bad result and they've got Bougherra missing, Mendes missing, and is this the time to go there?'

"I have to have my football head on tactically and, every time you go to Glasgow, you have to make sure you stay in the game as long as you can.

"That doesn't change on Saturday.

"I'm just delighted we've got this opportunity to go and play the match on Saturday, to maybe win it and go top of the league, albeit it could be for a short period."

Source: Team_Talk