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Hibs star Hanlon: We threw away our Championship title chance

Capital side kicking themselves after form slump handed automatic promotion to Rangers

Title: Hibernian fell away from Rangers at the top of the table this year
Title: Hibernian fell away from Rangers at the top of the table this year SNS Group

Hibernian defender Paul Hanlon believes they threw away their automatic promotion chances after a run of just one win in eight league games handed Rangers the title.

Hibs were eight points behind the league leaders, with a game in hand, in February before they embarked on the slide of form that now sees them 20 points adrift of the newly-crowned champions.

But asked if the Ibrox men's greater wage bill and resources gave them an unassailable advantage, Hanlon disagreed.

He said: "I don't think so, I don't think from our point of view it was anything that Rangers did - it has been more us dropping points than anything else.

"We need to move on now. The title is gone and our main aim is promotion."

The race to avoid relegation from the top tier will step up after the league splits next season, with Dundee United, Kilmarnock, Hamilton and Inverness all candidate to finish 11th.

Hibs have a string record against Premiership sides in cup competitions this term, but Hanlon is not looking too far ahead.

He said: "We are nowhere near playing a Premiership team yet.

"There is a long road ahead and we need to get second place if we can and then get through that to play against Premiership opposition."

Reflecting on the recent lost points to the likes of Morton and Dumbarton, the 26-year-old admitted that Hibs have found it difficult at times to deal with their league opponents raising their game against them.

He said: "It might be a bit of that, but also a bit of our form dipping as well.

"These games are massive for the teams playing against Hibs in the Championship.

"They are all going to raise their game and that is something we have had to deal with since we got relegated.

"That's just a pressure that comes from playing for Hibs and it is something we have to deal with."

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