Hibs target fifth trip to Hampden in 18 months

Martin Boyle is excited at the prospect of reaching Hampden for a fifth time in just 18 months
Martin Boyle is excited at the prospect of reaching Hampden for a fifth time in just 18 months
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Martin Boyle revealed that the chance of a fifth Hamdpen visit in just 18 months will drive him and his Easter Road team-mates on in tonight’s Betfred Cup quarter-final against Livingston.

The national stadium has almost become a home from home from for Hibs in that period, the League Cup defeat by Ross County in the spring of 2016 followed by much happier memories of that historic Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers which was preceded by a dramatic semi-final penalty shoot out win against Dundee United.

Neil Lennon took them back to Hampden as they defended the cup, only to narrowly lose out to Aberdeen in last season’s semi-final, but Boyle knows a win over Championship Livingston will see them back there again at the end of next month and only 90 more minutes away from yet another trip along the M8.

He said: “If we get to Hampden for a fifth time in 18 momths then that would be great because you always want to play at your national stadium. We’ve been there a lot lately but nobody thinks it’s going to be easy because Livingston are in great form right now.

“It will be a tough task to get past them but our aim is to get back to Hampden. It has been enjoyable for us these last few years, we’ve been lucky with our cup runs and that’s what we have been aiming for because it’s our best chance of winning something.

“We have home advantage in this round so we will hopefully get a big crowd and make the most of it.”

Lennon’s players will see tonight’s match as a chance to redeem themselves after finding themselves taking severe criticism from their manager for the way in which they threw away a two-goal lead against Motherwell at the weekend, but while still unhappy with how they played in the last 30 minutes of that game, the Hibs boss says no-one should lose sight of the fact his side have lost just once this season.

And, like Boyle, he sees the League and Scottish Cups as the club’s best chance of silverware this season.

He said: “We’ve lost once and played well in 85 per cent of the games.

“But I have high standards. There is no point in setting out your stall for tenth or 11th place in the table, or mid-table. I want them to progress. We’ve got two cup competitions we can realistically do well in and this is one of them.

“We have to maximise that opportunity. This is a home tie against a team that are playing very well, but it’s not insurmountable. The pot at the end is a semi-final at Hampden which is a great thing to look forward to.

“Yes, it’s dangerous, but again I’m looking for a win. We’ll have to earn the right to do that and after Saturday I think the reaction should be positive.”

Lennon has no fresh injury concerns after the weekend, although midfielder Marvin Bartley has a stiff back and will be assessed ahead of the game, with fellow midfielders Dylan McGeouch and Vikintas Slivka expected to be fit having shaken off minor groin niggles.