JIM Duffy reckons the Ladbrokes Championship will be just as competitive next season even without Hibernian.

Inverness, Livingston and Brechin have all joined the second tier and Duffy expects standards to remain high.

Following Dundee United’s failure to gain promotion to the Premiership on Sunday afternoon, Duffy believes the league remains the most competitive division in the country.

He said: “Over the last few years in the Scottish Championship you’ve had Rangers, Hearts, Hibs. 

“These are huge clubs in Scottish football, but with them out of the league it doesn’t make the league any easier. It just makes it more competitive.

“Livingston coming up who are a full-time side, they romped the league and played great football, they’ll come up with great confidence. 

“Brechin City, what an achievement that is.

“You might not necessarily have the same high profile clubs in the division but that doesn’t make it any easier. 

“If you look at it, I think everyone will think they’ve got a chance of having a good season because there’s no exceptional budget in the division, everyone is on a par.

“But I think it’ll be a similarly cut-throat league.”