MURRAY CONFIDENT BUT CAUTIOUS
Defender Ian Murray is certain Hibernian's cosmopolitan squad are fully aware of the gravity of their predicament as the battle to avoid relegation from the Clydesdale Bank Premier League intensifies this weekend.
Hibs are in 11th place in the SPL, three points ahead of Dunfermline entering this weekend's fixtures, but the Pars have the opportunity to wipe out the deficit on Saturday at Dundee United before the capital club travel to Inverness on Sunday.
Hibs have eight loan players in a diverse squad which manager Pat Fenlon overhauled in January in an effort to kickstart the campaign and revive fortunes.
However, Fenlon has five wins in 19 games since succeeding Colin Calderwood as boss in November and Hibs must rise out of a slump which has resulted in just one SPL victory since the close of the winter transfer window.
"It should mean the world to everyone," Murray said.
"If you're going to be part of a relegated team it's not good, first and foremost for yourself, and then you've got to think long term.
"There will be huge changes if Hibs don't manage to stay in the league. That's simple.
"We know it would be a big thing Hibs getting relegated. I can remember last time Hibs went down (in 1998), we were fortunate to bounce straight back up.
"I think this time it would be a whole lot harder."
It is a situation Murray hopes not to experience.
"We're very confident we can survive but we also have to be cautious," he added.
"We've got no God-given right to just turn up and expect to be in the Premier League again.
"I've got no doubt Dunfermline will pick up points over the next few weeks.
"We have to be wary. They've come back from further behind than they are at the moment so we need to try to put that to bed as soon as possible."
The appointment of former Hearts player and manager Jim Jefferies as Dunfermline boss has brought an intriguing edge to the battle.
"It's an ideal job, I think, for Jim," Murray added.
"They're a big club and you could argue that they should be in the Premier League - they're that big a club. As long as it's not at the expense of us.
"It adds a little bit more spice to the whole thing. It would be a remarkable story (if Jefferies were to keep Dunfermline up). We just hope it's a story that doesn't happen."
Murray has had to endure Hibs' travails from the treatment room in recent weeks but is nearing a return.
Murray concedes Inverness, 10th after their win at Aberdeen, Hibs' opponents in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final next month, are now out of the relegation reckoning.
The 31-year-old will not travel to the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium after training with the first-team squad for the first time since January after undergoing hip surgery.
"It's been very frustrating watching," Murray added.
"We need everybody here that's part of the group - playing, not playing, on the bench, not fit - to be pulling in the same direction."
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