PAT STANTON believes that the hurt and disappointment caused by defeat to Hearts in last season’s William Hill Scottish Cup final can spur the current crop of Hibs players on to victory in the competition against Aberdeen on Sunday.
The Edinburgh side play host to Craig Brown’s Dons in the fifth round and will be hoping to go one better than their most recent meeting in the league, which ended in a goalless draw six days ago.
Stanton certainly believes that the match will be a complete contrast to that one, partly as there is so much at stake, but also because the Hibs players will have a steely determination to progress.
The Hibs legend said: “They played Aberdeen just recently, but this is a completely different matter. People might think that the teams will go out there and it will be the same type of game, but I am pretty sure that it will not.
“The players will certainly be aware of this club’s history in the competition, even if they weren’t involved in the final last year. I would like to see them doing it for the fans. There have been a lot of bitter disappointments over the years – and we don’t have to look too far back for a real severe disappointment. You would like to think that day would be a bit of a spur for the players this year; it’s a chance for them to make amends.”
Stanton believes that new signing Scott Robertson, who won the Scottish Cup with Dundee United in 2010, will prove to be a huge hit in the middle of the park after joining from Blackpool earlier in the week.
The midfielder made only one appearance for the Bloomfield Road side, but Stanton is certain that he will add not only quality but vital competition for places.
He continued: “Pat Fenlon has certainly strengthened the team in the middle of the park and I think that Scott Robertson will be a great addition to the squad.”
Following the defeat to Ross County on Wednesday, Fenlon insisted yesterday that his side have not been relying too heavily on Leigh Griffiths to bag his side goals, but Stanton believes that the pressure of carrying the responsibility for the vast majority of Hibs’ goals this season could be starting to take its toll on the hitman.
Stanton continued: “He’s certainly scoring the goals, but I would like to see other players taking a bit of responsibility and scoring goals. There are players there who have probably never even attempted a shot at goal. It’s dangerous relying on Leigh scoring all the time.
“He’s not a kid any more. I think the off-field stuff is something the manager could do without, and Leigh could do without as well.
“I think you’ve seen it over the years, players with great ability. It’s just in their personality. Over the years I imagine there must have been umpteen people took George Best aside and tried to point him in the right direction.
“And people like Jim Baxter, or a player I played alongside at Easter Road, Willie Hamilton. He was good as anybody. But it was just in their nature – free spirits or whatever you want to call them.
“They had all that ability and I don’t think they needed to work hard at their game, because they were that talented. But come the age of 27, 28, those guys were starting to go back the way, when really they should have been at their peak.
“Leigh has got great ability, and he’s getting himself a great reputation on the park. It’s just a pity, these other things off the park.”