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Hibernian not looking over shoulders as they seek Celtic result – Stockdale

Assistant manager Robbie Stockdale insists Hibernian are not looking over their shoulders even though they could finish the weekend at the foot of the league table if results go against them.

Hibs head into Saturday’s home clash with champions Celtic on the back of a three-match losing run in the Ladbrokes Premiership, with their latest defeat coming against local rivals Hearts in last weekend’s Edinburgh derby.

That left Paul Heckingbottom’s side 11th in the table, just one point ahead of bottom club St Johnstone, who take on Motherwell this weekend.

But Stockdale says Hibs, who will be boosted by their midweek penalty shoot-out victory at Kilmarnock in the Betfred Cup, have their sights set on getting a result against Celtic.

He said: “We might get the result and we’ll be looking up. We’re not really thinking of looking over our shoulders.

“We’re going into the game to get a positive result.

“We’re playing the best team in the country and we want to match them up, we want to be better than them.”

Stockdale praised his players for reaching the cup semi-finals but stressed the victory does not change anything as they prepare for the visit of Neil Lennon’s Celtic.

He added: “You try and maintain a level of professionalism no matter how you’re doing. Of course getting to a semi-final is a big deal.

“It’s a great achievement and the players deserve a lot of credit for getting there.

“But it’s our job to keep the players focused no matter how results are going. It’s easier if you’re winning and confidence is high, we get that.

“We work the same way. Our work is done on the training ground whether we win, lose or draw.”

Hibernian will be without suspended defender Ryan Porteous after he was shown a straight red card late in extra-time against Killie.

The club announced on Friday that their head of football operations George Craig would step down at the end of the year.

Craig, who has been in the role for the last five years, told the club’s official website: “I believed that this would be something I would give five years to and we’ve made significant progress in that time.

“I am particularly proud of the strides we have made in the development of talented, young, local players through our Academy and Player Development Programme.

“I will be watching with great interest and it will give me great pleasure to witness the fruits of this work for many years to come.

Chief executive Leeann Dempster said: “The introduction and implementation of George’s football structure and strategy have played a significant part in the many successes we have enjoyed at this club during the past five years – the promotion back to the top flight, the Scottish Cup win, and the qualification for Europe.

“He told me of his intention to retire as this will enable him to enjoy more time with his family.

“While we are all sad to see him go, we know he’ll be along to plenty of our games and will continue to contribute in his own inimitable way.”

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