Chris Cadden feared injury would rule him out of another cup final as Hibs man targets Hampden success

Chris Cadden could have been forgiven for thinking the worst when he was forced off after just 20 minutes of Hibs’ 1-0 victory over Dundee on Tuesday night.

By Patrick McPartlin
Saturday, 18th December 2021, 6:00 am
Chris Cadden 'wasn't in a good place' after suffering an injury against Dundee
Chris Cadden 'wasn't in a good place' after suffering an injury against Dundee

The tireless wingback has enjoyed a run of games recently after enduring not one but two lengthy spells on the sidelines that kept him out for around four months, so there was obvious concern when he was replaced by Christian Doidge midway through the first half on Tuesday night.

"Fingers crossed I caught it early enough; initial signs are good so I’ll be doing everything I can to be fit but I think it should be fine,” he told the Evening News in an exclusive interview.

"I wasn’t in a great place after it but the physio told me it wasn’t too bad and not to worry about it too much. Obviously playing in the cup final is huge but I didn’t want to come off in the Dundee game! I thought the team started well, and I thought I started well, and I wanted to help the team get three massive points but then after I’d come off I started thinking about the final but hopefully I’m alright.”

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Chris Cadden, seen here celebrating Martin Boyle's second goal against Rangers in the semi-final, is eager for more Hampden success

His presence on the right flank, combined with his propensity for swinging in crosses and getting up and down the flank with ease has allowed Martin Boyle to fulfil a role up front in the absence of Doidge but come Sunday, interim Hibs boss David Gray could have all four players available as he looks to build on the morale-boosting win against the Dark Blues.

"That’s exactly what we wanted before Sunday,” Cadden agreed, referring to the midweek success. “Dave told us how big a week it was for us for our season, for our league form, and with the cup final at the end of it so to get a result was huge.”

Club legend Gray is preparing his team for a trophy tilt amid the ongoing search for a new manager. While that might be a distracting presence in the background he has stressed the importance of focusing on the weekend, even in the wake of the players’ disappointment at the departure of Jack Ross, who was relieved of his duties by the club following a dismal 1-0 defeat at Livingston earlier in December.

"He’s told us we can’t control everything that’s going on. Obviously we were all fighting for the gaffer and it was a big disappointment for everybody when he left,” Cadden explained.

"Especially for me, he brought me to the club and took a chance on me and I can’t thank him enough for that. So from a personal point of view it was gutting to see him go but you can only control what you can control. There’s been some big games already, and more coming up, so I don’t need to look far to find something to focus on, and that's what I’ve been doing.“

Cadden already has one trophy to his name, having been part of the Columbus Crew side that won the MLS Cup in 2020, but he wasn’t selected for the final and had limited involvement in the preceding rounds. In fact, the energetic wingback played just a handful of minutes in the Crew’s march to the final in which they beat Seattle Sounders, with the Covid-19 pandemic wreaking havoc with his time Stateside.

The chance to play in a national cup final therefore, having been sidelined for Hibs’ Scottish Cup final defeat in May, is one of which he’s desperate to make the most.

"We just want to go and put a performance in and hopefully win, but we know how hard it’s going to be too. We know we’re the underdogs, that’s the way it’s going to be, but it’s absolutely massive for the club.

"Before I came here I had a look at videos of big Hibs games and obviously the 2016 Scottish Cup final comes up, and the League Cup final from 2007 comes up as well… you look at the scenes and how much it means to the fans as well as the city and the players.

"It’ll be massive to represent Hibs at a cup final and that’s why I came Hibs, because there’s the chance of winning cups because of how good the players are, and how good the team is. I think that’s true for all players who come to a club like Hibs, to play in big games like this.”

Speaking of big games, Cadden played the full 90 minutes as Hibs roared to a 3-1 victory over Rangers in the Premier Sports Cup semi-final last month. It was a stunning team performance and the 25-year-old knows there needs to be a repeat at the national stadium on Sunday if Hibs are to triumph. Having experienced the celebrations after the final whistle, Cadden’s face lights up when contemplating doing it all over again this weekend, with the added bonus of some silverware.

"It’s a one-off game so form goes out the window, form doesn’t come into it. It’s all about whoever’s the better man on the day, and the better team on the day,” he stated.

"If we show up like we did against Rangers then we’ll have a good chance, but we know we need to be the best version of ourselves to go and beat Celtic.

"That’s what we’ll be striving for, and hopefully we manage to do that.”

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