Martin Boyle is adamant Hibs will take a fearless approach into their Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen on Saturday.
The Easter Road side, who have just won the Championship title, are underdogs for the Hampden showdown with a Dons side currently clear in second place in the Premiership.
However, Hibs have successfully come through seven of their last eight cup ties with top-flight opponents over the past two seasons, and Boyle sees no reason why they can’t continue their defence of the trophy by doing so again this weekend.
“We have had a good results against Premiership teams over the past few years,” said the Hibs attacker. “We’re not going to stand down, we’re not scared of playing them. We know what we have got here and we have nothing to lose. I’m sure we can pass the ball about, get into some real good spaces and have a right go at them.”
Boyle believes the fact Hibs tied up the title by defeating Queen of the South last weekend will stand them in good stead for Saturday.
“I think it was important to get it done,” he said. “We had opportunities to do it but we didn’t take them and things didn’t go our way. But it’s good it’s finally done so we can focus on trying to get the cup back.
“We’re relieved it’s all wrapped up and now we can look forward to this Saturday. Both teams are in good spirits, they have been on a really good run and we have just won the league. We want to retain the trophy so we’re looking forward to it.”
Boyle has loved the past year at Hibs. After wild celebrations in the aftermath of the Scottish Cup triumph last May, the euphoria around the club has been maintained by securing promotion this season. “It’s been brilliant – I never imagined myself winning the Scottish Cup.
“Normally I watch the final on TV with my dad so to actually go and do it was amazing. And getting this club back to where it belongs has been a privilege.”
Boyle was taken aback by the magnitude of the celebrations among supporters and players last May. “I think everyone gave it a good go last year, myself included,” he said. “It was a memorable time and I think we milked it a wee bit. There were a few parties that went on for days, fans were taking days off work – it was carnage.
“We ended up at [John] McGinn’s house [the night after the game] and that was a riot. I think there were 11 boys on his living room floor.
“I don’t think boys went home to their missus or anything like that. I think mine is still wondering where I got to! I was one of the ones on the floor. I got bullied!
“I knew winning the Scottish Cup was huge for the club because it was always spoken about, but to actually do it and see the thousands that turned up on the Sunday was crazy. It’s great to say we have done it, and to do it again would be absolutely unbelievable.”
Boyle, an Aberdeen supporter, credits the Dons with playing a key part in his development after he trained with them for a spell in 2012 while on the books at Montrose.
“Craig Brown took me in,” he said. “I was at college but trained full-time with them during the week and it was brilliant. [Hibs midfielder] Fraser Fyvie was there, Ryan Jack [the current Aberdeen captain] as well. I knew Fraser from school trials as well and we were pretty much brought up together. We played in the same summer leagues – until he got taken out of it because he was too good, apparently! It was a good experience. I felt they built me up a bit.
“I was gaining the benefits on a Saturday with Montrose. I was training full-time, I felt fitter, stronger and faster and I felt like I could get round the pitch more. I wouldn’t say it was a trial. It was just going in so that they could help me along the way. I didn’t go in thinking I was going to get signed at the end of it. It would have been good at the end of it if they had been keeping an eye on me but it was really just them helping out a local boy, trying to develop him. I can thank Craig Brown and Archie Knox who brought me in, and Fraser welcomed me in. It was all good.”
Boyle grew up in Aberdeen so will have several acquaintances among the Red Army on Saturday. “All my pals will be in the Aberdeen end. I’ve got my fiancée on my side. My dad’s a Hearts fan so he doesn’t care. My mum’s going along. She will cheer me on. I’ve got a lot of uncles who are Aberdeen fans. If we win, they’ll be happy for me, but if we lose, they’ll be happy because Aberdeen are through. The Aberdeen fans are dying to get their hands on a Scottish Cup. I was at the League Cup final at Celtic Park when they won that  and the celebrations were unbelievable. I’m sure they would love to do what we did last year, but it’s up to us to stop that.”