Maurice Malpas, the Hibernian assistant manager, is working with manager Terry Butcher to create a siege mentality within the first-team squad.

The Edinburgh side have become the butt of the joke after slumping to within four points of the relegation play-off place with just five matches left this season.

The management team are now trying to use their predicament to spark Hibs' players back into life. It is imperative that the Easter Road squad turn their fortunes around too, since they have won just once in 14 matches ahead of the trip to face St Mirren this afternoon.

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The manner in which Hibs are sleep-walking towards the play-off has caused many neutral observers to turn against them and Malpas admitted yesterday that he has been trying to use that to the advantage of his side.

"We do use it. Trust me. We've got to use it in such a way that it helps our team performance and it does not hinder our team performance," he said. "[Our form] is something to knock us about. We are where we are because of the number of points we've got. We haven't done well enough in terms of collecting points.

"But that's in the past. We've got to concentrate on [today] and it's about three points against St Mirren. Then we'll go on to the next game and it's three points against Hearts.

"We could be worse. We could be in 11th place just now. We've got to be positive about it and go and play and enjoy the challenge."