Ray McKinnon believes Hibs are genuine contenders to repeat their dramatic Scottish Cup success of last year.
But he’s also convinced his Dundee United side are capable of beating them into second in the Championship promotion race.
And he knows winning when the Hibees come to Tannadice on Friday night would increase the chances of that.
“Hibs have a chance of winning the cup, I seriously believe that,” said Ray.
“They are playing Aberdeen (in the semis) but, when you see what they did last year in the cup and what they’ve done to teams this year, you are talking about a very good outfit.
“And I think what that shows is our league is strong and there are loads of players in the Championship who could play in the Premiership.
“For years people have struggled to get out of this league. Hibs have for three years now.
“But we’re not far behind them and that shows what we can do.”
While he believes the Hibees’ extended run in the cup will not harm United, he views the busy schedule for both teams in the run- up to the end of the campaign as very much a case of swings and roundabouts.
“They have the cup run, we have a backlog of games because of the Challenge Cup Final and these things just even themselves out.
“We have a lot of games coming up with a 17 or 18-man squad and that’s a challenge.
“We just have to touch wood we can go through that spell without any injuries.”
Ray took a look at trialist Wato Kuate in action for the Development League side as they took on Hibs at Forfar’s Station Park.
So far, the 21-year-old former Manchester City Youth has impressed him and could be offered a contract for the rest of this season and beyond.
“He’s been doing well in training, but we wanted to see him in a game,” he added.
Kuate was born in Cameroon but holds a Portuguese passport and has represented them at U/19 level.
Most recently he was with Greek outfit Asteras Tripoli.
He put on a decent show as United’s Development side went down 2-1 to their Hibs counterparts.
Ali Coote got the Tangerines’ goal from the penalty spot in a game which also saw defender Coll Donaldson get a run-out.