Hibs have been urged to do everything in their power to give their supporters an Easter Road title party on Saturday and ensure they have no lingering distractions going into next weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen.
Neil Lennon’s team can secure automatic promotion to the Premiership if they beat Queen of the South at home and second-place Falkirk slip up at home to on-form St Mirren.
If the Championship title is not tied up this weekend, then Hibs could realistically end up sealing it without kicking a ball in the aftermath of their lunchtime semi-final with Aberdeen at Hampden next Saturday. Former Hibs striker Kevin Harper feels the perfect scenario involves his old club could getting the job done this weekend. “It doesn’t matter how they get over the line – win, lose or draw on Saturday, they’ll still get promoted but they’ll definitely want to win it on Saturday in front of their own fans,” he told the Evening News. “You’d like to think there would be a full house at Easter Road because it’s a massive occasion. It would be nice for the fans if they can do it at home because they’ve been fantastic and stuck with the team through tough times. If they get it tied up on Saturday it also means they can go and concentrate on the semi-final without worrying about when they’re getting over the line. If they get it done this week, they can then clear their heads and focus solely on Aberdeen.”
Although Hibs have spent the last three years in the Championship, Harper believes that finally achieving promotion on the back of their historic Scottish Cup triumph last year will ensure they return to the Premiership with genuine momentum.
“For the fans, it’ll feel like the end of a long journey,” he said. “If you look at it over the course of the three seasons they’ve been down there, in the first season Hearts were the best equipped team when they went down, then Rangers spent a bit of money in the second season, and now Hibs are the team that should go up. It’s taken a bit of a time but winning the Scottish Cup last year and then getting promoted this season will be music to their fans’ ears.”
Meanwhile, Hibs have now sold more than 16,000 tickets for next weekend’s semi-final, while Aberdeen have sold around 11,500. With tickets selling well, the attendance of 28,278 when the two clubs last met at the same stage of the competition five years ago is likely to be comfortably eclipsed.