James McPAKE today revealed how he predicted a repeat of May’s Scottish Cup final showdown between Hibs and Hearts hours before the Capital clubs were pitched together again in this season’s fourth round draw.
And, incredibly, the Hibs skipper even forecast the match would take place at Tynecastle – exactly the scenario which unfolded as a rehearsal took place at Hampden ahead of the main event.
As it turned out, Pat Fenlon’s side will have the advantage of playing at Easter Road when the two sides clash on the first weekend of December with most expecting a switch to the Sunday for the benefit of a nationwide television audience.
“I don’t know what it was,” McPake said, “but I just had a feeling we’d draw them after what happened last season. I even said to my wife, I thought it would be Hearts at Tynecastle which, I understand, was the way it came out in the rehearsal beforehand.”
Although McPake needed no reminding of the 5-1 humiliation Hibs suffered on that day in May, the big defender was adamant the prospect of facing their biggest rivals in front of what is sure to be a sell-out crowd held no fears for him or his team-mates. One of only five players
remaining at Easter Road who started at Hampden six months ago, the star added: “I think this is the tie everyone wanted. We’d been saying we’d be happy with whoever we got as long as it was at Easter Road.
“It’s going to be a great game not just for Edinburgh but for Scottish football in general.”
Hibs and Hearts drew 1-1 at Easter Road when they met for the first time since the final in only the second league game of this season, and, McPake claimed, the events in May won’t be given a second thought as far as he is concerned.
“I’ve said before that’s last season. Hibs are an entirely different team now. The manager has brought in his own players, we have a different way of playing and I think we have shown we are a better side so we have no fears or worries, we’re just looking forward to it.”
Meantime, McPake said Hibs must concentrate on maintaining their impressive league form, beginning with the visit of Dundee United on Sunday.
• Hibs Under-20s face St Johnstone at Linlithgow’s Prestonfield Park tonight (kick-off 7pm).