Hibs boss takes heart from previous Rangers performances as he mulls over Premier Sports Cup draw
Through to their fifth successive semi-final – their fourth under manager Jack Ross – Hibs avoided the team who quashed their cup dream last term.
Instead, after defeating Dundee United 3-1 at Tannadice, the Easter Road side will return to Hampden at the end of November to face the side they vanquished in the 2016 Scottish Cup final.
“Whoever we got, it was going to be a tough game,” said Ross after his men were drawn to face Rangers. “I’m excited by it. The big difference from the previous semi-finals is the size of the crowd that will be there and a good atmosphere will be generated.
“I thought we were highly competitive in the games against Rangers last year. We play them in the league before the semi-final as well so it’s a brilliant tie.
“Rangers won three of the games last season but I thought we were highly competitive. It’s about taking that next step. We obviously have the league game before it which will be a good barometer to see where we’re at as well. It will give us some indication of how we plan for that game. There’s a lot of football still to be played before that time but it’s just brilliant for the players to be in another semi-final.”
His Dundee United counterpart was frustrated by the assistance they seemed to receive from the match officials in booking their return to the national stadium.
Tam Courts was disappointed with the first-half penalty award but was even more annoyed by the decision to disallow Peter Pawlett’s second half ‘goal’ for offside when replays suggest he was being played on by Lewis Stevenson.
It would have taken the home side within a goal of their guests with plenty of time to push for an equaliser.
“I’m really disappointed by that, really disappointed for the players,” said Courts. “Mark Reynolds has had to spend some time on the bench, performs so admirably well, and then has to deal with an unjust penalty decision.
“Then Peter Pawlett [has a goal chalked off]. It would have been a cracking finale if we had been awarded that legitimate goal and been able to take it down the home stretch. Unfortunately we never got that opportunity.”