WITH the first division title all but sewn up, Hibs manager Alex McLeish is now looking for a good cup run to really test the calibre of his team.

McLeish admitted that his players had been stung by suggestions that, although dominating the first division, they may not be good enough to make an impact in the Premier League.

With that in mind, McLeish said that although they would take nothing for granted against Stirling Allbion, it would be good to come up against a Premier League side later on in the tournament.

In the League Cup the Easter Road men were easily beaten by St Johnstone, but since then the Easter Road manager has had a major reshuffle and brought in many new faces to the club.

McLeish has no major injury worries going into the match and has Stevie Crawford back from suspension and Derek Collins returning after injury.

His only problem is over team selection and he has to decide whether to keep Barry Lavety, who scored in last week's emphatic 4-0 win over Hamilton in the side, or restore Crawford to the starting line-up.

McLeish admitted there would be ''a bit of an edge'' to the game as Stirling Albion are managed by former Motherwell player John Philliben and Brian Martin is captain. Also in their ranks is former Hibs player Chris Jackson.

''People will make us overwhelming favourites for the next round, but these matches can be potential banana skins,'' said McLeish, who turned 40 on Thursday and will be looking to his side to give him a belated birthday present by wrapping up a good victory.

The visitors will be hoping strikers Ally Graham and Alex Bone, nephew of the Dundee assistant manager, Jimmy Bone, can take advantage of a relatively new-look Hibs defence, where club captain John Hughes is out injured and youngster Mark Dempsie retains his place alongside Shaun Dennis.

Stirling Albion will have to do without Pat Clark, sent off in their win over Montrose.

One new face has been added to McLeish's pool, in the form of Canadian Russell Huggan, a 19-year-old member of the groundstaff.

McLeish said that although Huggan, born in Vancouver, was unlikely to feature during the game, the young midfielder has been brought into the squad to gain experience of what it is like in the first team.

Despite being so far ahead at the top of the first division, Hibs midfielder Justin Skinner still thinks that the cup is just a side issue this season.

''Top spot in the league is our main priority as there is no doubt that our main goal is gaining promotion,'' said Skinner.

Bookies' View: Hibernian 2-7, Stirling Albion 8-1, draw 4-1.