Cummings ‘not guaranteed a starting place’ in cup final

Jason Cummings has an excellent scoring record against Rangers
Jason Cummings has an excellent scoring record against Rangers
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Hibs boss Alan Stubbs today insisted top scorer Jason Cummings’ stunning record against Rangers – eight goals in the past two seasons – won’t guarantee him a starting place in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup final.

Although he revealed he’s “more or less” clear as to the side he’ll field at Hampden, Stubbs admitted he still had one or two decisions to make, one of them appearing to be whether 20-year-old Cummings or James Keatings should be part of his strikeforce.

Adamant he’ll go with the side he believes can win the trophy, Stubbs conceded Cummings’ record against Rangers didn’t do his chances of playing any harm, but added: “It won’t be the be-all and end-all in terms of my decision. I want players who are going into the game in form. Jason got left out on Friday [against Falkirk], it was just a call I went with. The fact Keats scored twice has done him no harm whatsoever.

“Was it justified or not? Other people can decide that, but on the day I felt it was the right decision.”

Cummings was pictured earlier in the week enjoying a kickabout with his mates wearing only socks on his feet but Stubbs wasn’t bothered about him doing so only a few days before such an important game, adamant that the Scotland Under-21 striker is the sort of character the game is crying out for.

He said: “Sometimes it’s down to coaches at a lower level not being able to handle a bit of character and personality. They want everyone to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and walk in a straight line. If someone comes off a straight line they are not happy about it.

“They don’t want them to make a mistake, they want them to get it right all the time – which is impossible. Players have to be able to make mistakes, they have to be able to try things.

“Sometimes people don’t like it, they see it as a negative. I certainly don’t. If he kept doing the wrong thing all the time, then that’s maybe the time to have a word. But if he does it wrong ten times and gets it right once, for me that’s success.

“As long as he didn’t get injured, I’m not bothered. He’s got pals and I’m sure he was sensible with it. I’m sure it’s being made into more than it actually was. He is still a young boy. He is certainly growing up and one picture can sometimes paint a completely different picture. We have to be careful that we don’t lambast someone because he is enthusiastic, because he is a confident boy.

“Yes, you have to manage it. But in terms of Jason I’ve got no problems.”