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Alessio’s sympathy for Hibernian manager Heckingbottom only goes so far

Kilmarnock manager Angelo Alessio has sympathy for under-fire Hibernian boss Paul Heckingbottom.

Alessio admits, however, that sympathy only stretches so far as he can only focus on knocking Hibs out of the Betfred Cup and taking Kilmarnock to their first semi-final in seven years.

Pressure has been piled on Heckingbottom following the Easter Road outfit’s disappointing start to the league campaign, with a small section of fans demanding his dismissal following Sunday’s Edinburgh derby defeat to Hearts.

Hibs have lost three games in a row and have managed just one win in their last 10 league outings.

Alessio said: “Of course, I sympathise with him (Heckingbottom) but my focus is only for my team.

“I understand this situation but every manager is under pressure for results. It always depends on every moment for the results.

“Of course, I want to beat him as it is important for us to go into the next round, the semi-final and for this reason, I ask the team to play at 100 per cent.

“It’s very important for the club, for everyone here, for the fans because if we win we go into the semi-final and that would be the best result at this moment.

“Now it is important for us to show the right attitude because Hibernian come here very angry after losing the game against Hearts and because they have lost three games in this period.

“So, our focus, our motivation is very important.

“When a team is in a difficult period, as Hibernian are, it’s important our team don’t focus on Hibernian because it will depend on how we play. I hope we play well and we will deserve to go through if we play well.”

Kilmarnock beat Hibs 2-0 earlier this month but Alessio does not believe that game will have any bearing on this cup quarter-final.

He said: “That match was the past and now in the present is another game. Another important game for them and for us.”

Meanwhile, loan star Osman Sow is confident he is over the injury problems which have dogged him in recent seasons and now wants to show his best form for Kilmarnock.

Sow said: “I’m over my injuries. I had three good weeks of training and every day I’m going forward and feeling really good.

“I’m working hard and waiting on my opportunity. The team are doing well, so I just have to be patient.”

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