Rangers boss Stuart McCall insists he will not fall for Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs’ mind games ahead of today’s decisive play-off.
The Glasgow side take a two-goal lead to Easter Road after Wednesday night’s home victory.
However, Stubbs has tried to turn the heat up ahead of the second leg by claiming that “2-0 is probably the most vulnerable scoreline in football”.
McCall says he saw right through his opposite number’s ploy and made it clear he is happy to be heading into the match in Rangers’ position rather than the uphill struggle facing Hibs.
He said: “That is possibly what I would be saying (in Stubbs’ position), and it might be right.
“But I’m sure if you ask Alan he would rather be up 2-0. I take his point. You hear pundits saying on the TV that 2-0 is always a dodgy score, but for me I’d rather be going in 2-0 up than 2-0 down.”
Rangers head east with a vital advantage after Nicky Clark and Kenny Miller put them in front. But Stubbs will hope the Light Blues will be hit by indecision in Edinburgh as they hesitate over whether to stick or twist.
McCall said: “There will be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and we might be thinking ‘what if we sit in?’ or ‘but what if we concede a goal?’
“Likewise Alan and Hibs might think if they come out all guns blazing they might get caught on the counter.
“It is not mind games but all the emotions the team, supporters and coaches will go through in the 90 minutes.
“My philosophy will be that we have to defend well, but we need to carry an attacking threat and we can’t sit in and give up ground or territory.
“In our eyes we’re going there to hopefully score a goal which would mean they need to get at least three,” he said.
Stubbs provided a spiky response after Wednesday’s first leg when it was suggested his side had been intimidated by the huge noise generated by the 41,000-strong Glasgow crowd.
His side have already blown their chance at reaching this year’s William Hill Scottish Cup final after defeat to Falkirk in the semis, while there are still a handful of his squad who let a 2-0 play-off final lead slip last season as they were relegated by Hamilton.
But while McCall does not subscribe to the view their rivals have a weak stomach, he also reckons his side have proved they are up for the promotion fight.
He said: “First and foremost it is rubbish about Hibs being bottlers. I think that is nonsense because they were unlucky in the cup semi-final and the other night they performed well and there wasn’t a lot in it.
“Confidence is a huge thing. Going to Easter Road earlier this season and getting the result we did after Kenny Black and I came in and didn’t really hit the ground running with two draws, galvanised everybody.
“Since then in the big games we have performed. I think the team have only lost one in 16 or 17 games.”