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Page last updated at 20:12 GMT, Monday, 29 March 2010 21:12 UK

Hibs manager John Hughes looks for win over Dundee Utd


Hughes hopes Hibs are on the rise

Hibernian manager John Hughes believes that his team are now back on track for achieving their goal of a European place for next season.

The club beat Falkirk on Saturday to end a poor run of results in recent weeks, which included a Scottish Cup quarter-final defeat at Ross County.

"The last month has been hard, but the response I've had off these players has been fantastic," said Hughes.

"I like to think the win that we had on Saturday will give us confidence."

Hughes replaced Mixu Paatelainen as Hibernian manager last summer and has made it clear that qualification for the Europa League would represent progress.

To achieve that, Hibs must clinch third or fourth spot in the Scottish Premier League or, if both Scottish Cup finalists have qualified for European competition through their league placing, they will find that fifth place suffices.

"Hopefully, for all their hard work we can get rewarded at the end of the season," Hughes told BBC Scotland.

After league defeats by Rangers, St Johnstone, Motherwell and Hearts in the space of five weeks, and the cup exit in Dingwall, Hughes demanded improved performances to re-ignite the club's push for third place.

If we've got aspirations to get that third spot, we have to give it everything we've got

John Hughes' clarion call to his Hibs players

"One or two of them have shown character to come back and make sure they don't go hiding. It was nice for all their efforts that they have got back to winning ways," said Hughes, referring to the 3-1 win at Falkirk at the weekend, which moved them up to fourth place.

"All credit to the boys, especially with the month that we've had, going to a venue where they are fighting for their lives, on a tricky pitch with the overhead conditions were blowy."

The win over Steven Pressley's strugglers has lifted the mood at the Leith outfit, where Hughes argues that it will take time to fulfil his vision.

"I'm looking to create a culture, along with my own stuff, to make these players better individually and collectively, to create a 'win, win, win' mentality," he added.

"One or two of them you might have to help along. It takes time. It's like any new player coming to a club. Sometimes it takes time to settle, to see how the club works and to see the style of play."

Hibs take on Dundee United on Wednesday and Hughes, who should have Kevin McBride available again, is expecting a difficult match against the team who have amassed two points more than his own have earned.

He said: "Dundee United are on a real roll at the minute and have had a couple of fantastic results in their last few games.

"My players, however, know the task that is in front of them and I am confident that they have the ability to handle the pressure.

"We're playing against a United side that can do no wrong. They are winning with 10 men and had a great result in the Scottish Cup. They are a very difficult team to play against; they have some wonderful players.

"But if we've got aspirations to get that third spot, we have to give it everything we've got.

"It should be a cracker. It was the last time we were at Easter Road and I'm looking forward to it."

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see also
Falkirk 1-3 Hibernian
27 Mar 10 |  Scottish Premier
Hughes hails clinical finishing
27 Mar 10 |  Hibernian
Hibs boss understands fans' flak
25 Mar 10 |  Hibernian
Hibs loss unacceptable - Hughes
24 Mar 10 |  Hibernian
Ross County 2-1 Hibernian
23 Mar 10 |  Scottish Cups

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