JAMES McPAKE has revealed today’s Scottish Cup final could be his last game for Hibs.
The on-loan Coventry City stopper is due to return to the Ricoh Arena where he still has a year of his contract to run having helped dig the Easter Road club out of relegation trouble and into the Hampden showdown with Capital rivals Hearts.
The 27-year-old has been a huge hit with Hibs fans with his no-nonsense performances in central defence, leaving them clamouring for chairman Rod Petrie to seal a deal to bring the former Livingston star back to Edinburgh on a permanent basis.
They’ll be hoping the fact Coventry were relegated from the English Championship may help persuade the Midlands club to agree a deal for that to happen, but as things stand, McPake insisted, he’s heading back down south.
He said: “I’m contracted to Coventry and I’ve got another season down there. Unless I hear otherwise, I’ll be reporting back down there on July 1.
“I’ve had a great time at Hibs and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, every training session, the players and being about the place. If it comes to it, I’ll just leave it to both clubs. I don’t know if that’s the case, Hibs maybe don’t want me.
“As far as I am concerned this is my last game for Hibs unless someone tells me otherwise. I’m determined to have a future with them because they are my parent club and I have no other option but to go back to them – and I don’t mean that in a bad way.
“That’s were I’ll be unless things change – and things do change in football – but at the moment I’m not looking for it or begging Hibs to try and buy me.
“I’m just concentrating on the game and after that I will go on holiday and weigh up my options, if there are any options – there might not be.”
McPake was determined to push any thoughts about his future to one side as he concentrated on today’s epic encounter, admitting he could hardly have envisaged a year ago as he lay in bed recovering from a career threatening back injury he’d be involved in such a historic occasion.
He said: “Personally, for it to be almost a year to the day since having serious back surgery is a massive achievement as it will be for everyone around me who helped me during that period. I can’t remember watching last year’s final because I would have been so zoomed out on painkillers, that’s the God honest truth.
“It’s a turnaround and to be leading a team out is fantastic. If you had told me this time last year I’d be playing in the Scottish Cup Final in 12 months I would only have believed you because I was so zonked out on painkillers.”
And doing so, he insisted, will prove all those who labelled him as injury prone wrong. He said: “How can three broken bones in your back as a result of someone kneeing you in it be regarded as injury prone. It’s nice to ram it down people’s throats.”
McPake, however, insisted he wasn’t seeking personal glory, revealing he suspended his Twitter account as he’d found himself unable to sleep having been told heartbreaking stories of the torment generations of Hibs fans have suffered.
The former Livingston star said: “It’s weird, how can these people be living for so long and yet never seen their team win the Cup when they follow such a fantastic club? It’s scary it’s been 110 years and it’s something we’re desperate to change.
“Look at the Famous Five, they were the Celtic or the Rangers or the 40s and 50s and yet never won the Scottish Cup. I take nothing away from the players of that era, but it shows you what an achievement it could be for us.”
Scottish Cup final on scotsman.com
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