Comment: Hibs have to make this cup opportunity count or risk distorting the bigger picture
The Capital club have a strong record for reaching the latter stages in cup competitions over the past decade but the normality of those cup accomplishments has, unfairly, removed some of the lustre.
They have proudly progressed to the last four in eight of the last 11 tournaments and there are only two seasons in the last ten when they have not reached the semi-final stage in at least one of the cup competitions. If familiarity doesn’t quite breed contempt, it does dilute the level of excitement generated by such a feat.
After just four finals in that 10-season cup haul, reaping one – albeit memorable – ultimate triumph, fans want to see more tangible rewards, especially when presented with a position of apparent superiority, as the highest-ranked side still in this season’s competition.
On the face of it, that offers the team currently flying high in third in the Premiership a fabulous shot at silverware and, by the law of averages, they are surely due another taste of glory, but it will require more than simply turning up.
They are unbeaten by the Perth side this season but the games have been tight. That is unlikely to matter to disappointed fans if they cannot get the better of Callum Davidson’s men once more.
Which makes this a huge character test for Ross and his players.
Aside from personal glory, it would reflect well on owner Ron Gordon, who backed his manager at the start of the season rather than tightening the purse strings and has already moved to strengthen from a position of power during the January transfer window.
But, that costs money and demands more than treading water.
In the league, Hibs have advanced, bringing a bigger payout and kudos if they can maintain those standards, but now they must show similar improvement in the cups.
Do that and they will become club heroes. Come up short again and the perception shifts on a season that has, so far, promised better.