PAT FENLON admitted today that his players will be so fired up for their Scottish Cup final clash with city rivals Hearts that they won’t need any extra motivation from him.
Hibs’ 2-1 victory over Aberdeen on Saturday saw them become the first side to book their place in the final and 24 hours later Hearts teed up one of the most historic showdowns at Hampden in recent years with their win over Celtic.
The two Edinburgh sides will do battle at the national stadium on May 19 and Fenlon knows that the hype surrounding the clash will reach fever point over the coming weeks.
Their only other clash at this stage of the competition was in 1896 and Fenlon conceded that the final will be a mouthwatering occasion for both the clubs’ players and supporters.
He reckons that the pre-match team-talk at Hampden will be one of the easiest he’s ever had to prepare and said: “I watched the Hearts game on the television and it has set it up nicely for everyone involved with the two clubs.
“It’s going to be a great occasion for everyone attached to the club and I think it will probably be the easiest team-talk that I’ll ever have to give.
“Not only are we in the final, but it’s a derby final and that’s really unusual and I’m sure that everyone will want to be involved.”
While relishing the thought of an all-Edinburgh final in May, though, Fenlon insisted that his side have bigger fish to fry over the coming weeks.
With his side seven points clear of bottom side Dunfermline and 15 points still available before the end of the season, Fenlon stressed that the remaining five league games before the final are of much more importance to his side right now: “There is no point in worrying about anything at the moment, it is something to look forward to but the most important thing to this club is that we stay in the league.
“We have got a lot of big games coming up before the cup final. Obviously, the final will be massive for the club but we have got five other more important games before that to make sure that we stay in the SPL.
“Obviously, all the supporters will be talking about is the cup final, but know that we have to focus on the next few weeks first and make sure we take care of business in the league.”
The only negative for Hibs was the injury suffered by Graham Stack with 20 minutes of the game remaining and the goalkeeper will have a scan on his thigh today to find out the extent of the problem.
Meanwhile, Fenlon paid tribute to the Hibs supporters who were among the 28,278 crowd after listening to them belt out “Sunshine on Leith” in celebration at the final whistle.
The Hibs boss and No. 2 Billy Brown stood mesmerised on the pitch as they listened to the fans and he would love to reward them with some silverware this season: “I thought that the supporters were fantastic at the semi-final,” he said, “and it was great to stand and listen to them singing at the end.
“I have said before that we needed time to settle in and they have given that to us. It was important to us that we could give them something to look forward to and hopefully the Scottish Cup final can be that.”