HIBS defender Matt Doherty today admitted his relief at keeping the Easter Road club in the SPL – and avoiding being relegated with two teams in one season.
The defender joined Hibs on loan in January from Wolves and has since established himself as Pat Fenlon’s first-choice right-back. Doherty was disappointed as the Molineux side were consigned to the Championship following a defeat to Manchester City three weeks ago and was desperate not to repeat that feat with Hibs.
The Irishman scored the opening goal against Dunfermline on Monday night as Hibs eased to a 4-0 win that assured them of a place in the top flight next season. And now that issue is out of the way, Doherty is relieved he and his teammates can finally look forward to the Scottish Cup final against Hearts next weekend.
He said: “Yes, I might have been the only person to have been with two teams that have gone down in the one season,” said Doherty. “It wouldn’t look good on the CV, but we’ve stayed up and if we win the Cup that would be two great achievements for me in the space of six months. Not only did we stay in the Premier League, we won our first home game for who knows how long, so it’s given us an extra incentive to go on to the final against Hearts. We want to beat them every time so all of as are dying to get out there and play the final.”
While Doherty would love to end Hibs’ 110-year wait for Scottish Cup glory, he conceded that staying in the SPL was the most important thing for the players. “Some people would say, ‘I’ll take relegation for the Cup final’ but I think a club like Hibs needs to be playing in the SPL every week – and that’s what we’ve got for next season,” he said.