Craigroyston assistant manager Gary Sutherland believes the struggles of Hibs’ first team in the Scottish Premiership will provide extra motivation for club’s young stars in tomorrow’s Central Taxis League Cup final.
Sutherland says that the emerging talent in green and white will wish to prove that they are worth consideration for the senior squad as Terry Butcher’s men aim to cling to their top-tier status.
Hibs’ East of Scotland outfit have already claimed the First Division title in their debut season and can double their trophy haul with victory at Marine Drive tomorrow afternoon – an hour after Butcher’s charges will have learned their fate at the climax of the play-off decider against Kilmarnock. But Sutherland promises that Craigie will provide a stiff test.
“We know it will be a very hard game against a good young Hibs team who appear to be doing a lot better than the first team,” said Sutherland. “Their players will want to prove a few things and are very well organised and coached by a manager-in-the-making in James McDonaugh. We know what to expect, but we have no fear that, when we play to our capabilities, we can give anyone a game.”
Craigroyston are set on gaining some tangible reward for a relatively positive campaign in which they ran close the eventual Premier Division champions Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale for many weeks.
“Getting to the final is a great achievement for the gaffer and the players and everyone else connected to Craigroyston FC,” said Sutherland, No.2 to Tom Hendrie. “The players have been exceptional in getting to the final. We always knew we had quality, but it’s their workrate and desire also that has got us there, not to mention the great organisational skills of Tom. “I’m looking forward to it, and hopefully it’s a good end to the season, as the boys deserve something for all their hard work.”
McDonaugh will attempt to lift his side in time for tomorrow’s showpiece after they suffered a rare defeat during a 1-0 loss to Edinburgh University in the King Cup quarter-final in midweek. He said: “I need to try and pick them up and get them going again. Hopefully I can get the last wee bit out of their legs to try and win the cup against Craigroyston.”