PAT FENLON admitted today that leading Hibs out at Hampden will be the biggest honour of his career to date.
The Easter Road side face Aberdeen in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup this weekend and there won’t be a more proud man when the teams walk out the tunnel than Fenlon.
A place against either Hearts or Celtic in next month’s final awaits the winner, and the Hibs manager knows exactly what a victory this weekend would mean to the club’s supporters.
Fenlon, who won three cups and five league championships in Ireland, said: “It has been great to get Hibs to a semi-final and to be able to lead a big club like this out at Hampden Park on Saturday is going to be absolutely brilliant – it will be a great occasion.
“I am not going to pretend that I am steeped in the traditions of the club, but I know enough about them and have learned enough in the time that I have been here to know just what this competition means to the supporters. Being in the semi-final is an achievement in itself, but get to the cup final would be fantastic.
“Everyone has dreams and aspirations and if we can get to the cup final then it would be fabulous for everyone involved with the club.
“There is a massive fan-base here in the city and this competition means so much to them because of their history with the cup.
“This week has been all about the cup and the intensity because of not having won it for such a long time.
“To give ourselves a chance to rectify that, we have got to get to the cup final first, but we know that the semi-final against Aberdeen will be a very difficult one for us.”
Aberdeen, who currently sit in eighth position in the SPL table, go into the game as favourites, and Fenlon knows that his side face a tough physical challenge.
However, having steered his boys to a victory over Inverness and a draw with Motherwell over the past fortnight, Fenlon believes that there is a new-found confidence running through the team. “I think that they have had a better season than we have. Since I have been at the club we have played them twice: a 0-0 and then we lost 1-0 up at Pittodrie when a dodgy penalty probably did for us on the day.
“They had a good win against Dundee United at the weekend though and they’re playing well at the moment, but, at the same time, we have not done too badly ourselves.
“We beat Inverness and then got a point against Motherwell, who are third in the league right now, so there should be a little bit of confidence running through the team.”