Stage set for player to write his name into history books and become legend forever
THE script remains to be written but one thing is certain – a legend will be made today at Hampden.
Pat Fenlon and Paulo Sergio will care only about taking the trophy back to their side of the Capital, but another prize is up for grabs – the rare chance for an individual to indelibly etch his name into the rich folklore of their club.
Whoever emerges as the match-winner will do just that, taking a place in history alongside the greatest names to have ever pulled on the green and white or maroon.
Keith Wright has never been allowed to forget his strike in the 1991 Skol Cup final, the second in a 2-0 Hibs win over Dunfermline which guaranteed European football.
But he says that today’s game is on a whole different level, and that after its hero drags his weary legs from the Hampden turf, life will never be the same for him again.
“It was a dream come true for me to play in major cup final for Hibs,” he said. “The League Cup was a lot bigger back then as it automatically got you a place in the UEFA Cup. I just remember it as a tremendous day out, and every time I’m out and about in town people will still come up and speak about it.
“They talk about their memories and some of them will say we gave them one of the best times of their life.
“But to put it into perspective, today is one million times bigger than that game was. We had a great time, so I can’t imagine what it would be like for a Hibs player to score a winning goal today.
“They’ll be a cult hero, they’ll never have to put their hands in their pockets for the rest of their lives, and if they’re here on loan they’ll be welcome back every year for a party.”
Wright will take his place in the stands today, as will ex-Hearts man Scott Crabbe, who was involved in two semi-finals with the Gorgie club before he finally played in Scottish football’s showpiece in 1997 for Falkirk.
“This is the biggest derby ever,” he said. “Whoever wins this one will have bragging rights forever.
“It’s going to be incredible for whoever scores a winning goal – and someone has got to score it.”
Although Crabbe ended up on the losing side on his big day, going down 1-0 against Kilmarnock, he still remembers the cup final fondly.
“It was the biggest game I played in,” he said. “Walking out that day was tremendous. We got beat but I look back on it as a highlight of my career. It’s an amazing day.
“To the players I would just say enjoy the whole day, from start to finish. As soon as you turn up, take it all in. Not everybody gets to play in a Scottish Cup final.”
Scottish Cup final on scotsman.com
IF you’re not one of the lucky Hearts or Hibs fans with a ticket for Hampden, why not join in our live Scottish Cup final blog?
Sports writer Martin Dempster will be online from 2pm to 5pm reporting from Hampden where he will be providing updates on the atmosphere, a minute-by-minute account of the action and will also be reporting on the post-match celebrations.
Our site will also be a hive of Cup Final activity with the latest news posted throughout the day, post-match reaction from both sides, alongside a final whistle match report, fan reaction videos and picture galleries pinpointing the game’s crucial points.
We’ll also be advising fans of the winning team of the final details of the open top bus celebrations.
• Listen to Moira Gordon and Stuart Bathgate discuss the match in our Scottish Cup final podcast.