Joe Newell is convinced that Hibs can compete against the bigger teams in Scotland but insists that they have to do it on a more consistent basis.
Earlier this season Hibs fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Rangers at Easter Road before travelling to Glasgow where despite a good performance they lost 3-0 to the champions and Newell believes that these performances can help provide the confidence to compete at this level.
Celtic visit the capital this afternoon and Newell is looking forward to the fixture although he concedes that it would have been a better experience has the stadium been full.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference yesterday, Newell said: “It’s about confidence. We have to look at how we played at Parkhead earlier in the season. I thought we played some good stuff in the first half and created some good opportunities and on another day we might have taken one or two of them.
“We went in at half time thinking ‘we are 2-0 down but we are playing all right and that was off the back of the Rangers game at home as well so we know that we can perform against these type of teams but it’s important to get a result and not just play well but we will take confidence from the away performance earlier in the season.
“These are big games but obviously it would be a lot better of the fans could be here tomorrow.
“The Aberdeen game in hindsight might have been a bit of a hangover and we didn’t help ourselves shooting ourselves in the foot in the first 10-15 minutes but we want to be competing with these teams. We have a good enough squad and with the set up here we are a club that should be competing with these types of teams.
“We know we can compete against these teams but it’s about doing it on a consistent basis and trying to show everybody that we are up there for a reason.
“The Dundee cup game came at a good time and gave us the chance to put the semi-final and Aberdeen game behind us with a good performance and a good win so this next league game being a big game against a good team will hopefully work in our favour but we will need to put in a good performance of we are to get anything.”
Newell’s contract is up at the end of the season and Head Coach Jack Ross indicated that he is keen to retain his services but the player who spent four years with Peterborough United before a similar spell at Rotherham, admits he has not “thought in depth” about his future.
He continued: “My agent might have started talking to the club and vice versa but I have not really thought in depth about it.
“I’ve loved my time up here since I got my foot in the door but Covid has kind of ruined it on the pitch really for me. I think when the conversation comes round we’ll sort it out then.
“I’ve only been at two previous clubs and I’m not someone to jump around. Maybe that’s because no-one else wants me, but when I am happy and settled, I enjoy being there for a while.
“ I have a good relationship with the manager and the coaching staff. They are good guys to work for.
“I’m lucky that he has been playing me and trusts me and that helps the relationship.
“When he first came in I wasn’t really playing but he took over and trusted me and I have enjoyed myself under him.”