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Stack fears Hibs peaked too soon

Graham Stack is worried Hibs won't realise their ambitions of qualifying for the Europa League despite a barnstorming start to the campaign.

The only way is up: Graham Stack hopes Hibs can revive their flagging fortunes with a win at Ross County.
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Graham Stack fears Hibernian have been found out after their fine start to the season came further off the rails in Saturday’s 2-1 derby defeat to Hearts. The Hibs goalie, who dropped a clanger by misjudging the flight of the ball for the Tynecastle club’s opening goal, fears that optimism over a possible second placed finish from manager John Hughes may have been misplaced.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Stack, who moved to Hibs from Plymouth Argyle in 2009, has been a crucial part of a team which roared out in front in the race for third place early on in the campaign, raising hopes that they could split the Old Firm.

That challenge has fallen away ever since they went to Celtic Park in January and came away with a 2-1 victory, with the Hibees winning just two of their eight league games since.

“Maybe, in a way, we set out stall out too well to early on,” conceded Stack. “Expectations were so high the punters thought we were better than we actually are.

“Perhaps we have been found out a bit as we are not as great as we all thought. If we went out the cup then it turns our season upside down.

“We were looking at finishing comfortably in third place after a great run of results gave us a gap. We were looking at the top two places but what has happened shows how quickly football turns around.

“The question now is whether we can finish fourth. We have big games coming up and the picture of where we will finish is going to be clearer. We want to get third place and as far as I’m concerned, that’s still on.”

Despite their recent barren run, Hibs are still in the hunt for a European spot through the league and occupy fifth place in the table, one point behind Motherwell in fourth and two behind Dundee United in third.

Before they can turn their attentions back to ending that worrying run, they have to travel to Dingwall on Tuesday night in a tricky Scottish Cup quarter final replay against First Division title challengers Ross County.

Stack feels that a victory, while putting them into the Scottish Cup semi-finals, could also prove the catalyst for a recovery with nine SPL games left to salvage their European hopes.

“We all know it’s not been good enough in the past few weeks,” said Stack. “Maybe there is a lack of confidence around the place at the moment and rightly so.

“We haven’t won many games recently. Now we have a massive match on Tuesday. We have this game against Ross County to put things right and get Hibs into a semi-final.”

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