Hibs go into the William Hill Scottish Cup final as underdogs but these factors should give their fans hope ...
Eight goals against Rangers in the last two seasons indicates the young striker’s penchant for this particular fixture. Whether he plays from the start remains to be seen, though. He was dropped for the second leg of the Premiership play-off semi-final and watched his replacement, James Keatings, score twice as Hibs lost out to Falkirk. Alan Stubbs would be a brave man to leave his top goalscorer out of a cup final.
Three weeks of inactivity can work one of two ways: Either Rangers are refreshed and revitalised for Hampden, or they are rusty and lacking match practice. A closed-door game against a Tottenham Hotspur XI will have helped, but their last competitive fixture was back on May 1 – the 2-2 draw with St Mirren. Hibs will hope to take advantage of any slackness.
Hibs have big-game loan players available in Liam Henderson and Anthony Stokes. Most of their squad is fit, although their remains a slight doubt over Dylan McGeouch. Rangers, though, are without the suspended Dominic Ball, cup-tied pair Billy King and Michael O’Halloran, plus the injured Harry Forrester. That may leave manager Mark Warburton short of options on the substitutes’ bench.
Losing the League Cup final in the dying moments against Ross County was typical of Hibs’ luck in big matches. If they can use the hurt to drive them on then it will increase their chances against Rangers. A determination not to suffer that hollow feeling of defeat again could inspire the men from Edinburgh.
Didn’t fare too badly on his only Hampden appearance so far. Vital saves, including two penalties in the shootout, took Hibs into this final at the expense of Dundee Utd. The goalkeeper hadn’t played since December 2014 but produced the heroics when required. He may need to be similarly defiant if Hibs are to win the trophy.