'I'm desperate to win it again' - Paul Hanlon hoping for more Scottish Cup memories with Hibs
He played a pivotal role in Hibs’ journey to Hampden in 2016 – now Paul Hanlon wants to add to his cup memories.
The defender scrambled a late equaliser at Tynecastle as Alan Stubbs’ side came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Hearts and force a replay which the Easter Road side won en route to ending their 114-year Scottish Cup drought with a 3-2 victory against Rangers in the final but the 31-year-old isn’t satisfied.
"That goal is extra special, but at the time it was special as well because I'd scored my first goal against Hearts,” Hanlon recalls ahead of Hibs’ fourth-round tie against Stranraer at Stair Park tomorrow.
"It was a special moment and that is what cup football brings. If you're lucky enough to go on and lift the trophy then you look back at all these moments along the way.
"From this weekend we have to start creating the moments that are going to get us there."
For the last five years there has been no narrative around the length of time since the Capital club last won the trophy, and the centre-back believes smashing the hoodoo has only increaed the teams’ desire for more success.
"Getting the monkey off our back has given us even more hunger and passion to do it again because you saw how big it was, how big the celebrations were, and how happy the fans were,” Hanlon said.
“They are the moments in your career you look back and say were the real special ones and want to look back on.
“We got a taste for it in 2016 and if that doesn’t whet your appetite for more then nothing will. I’m desperate to win it again and experience all the incredible scenes again."
Hanlon was on the losing side in the 2012 and 2013 Scottish Cup finals, so it was very much a case of third-time lucky for the boyhood Hibee.
“My dad and uncles are all Hibs fans and like most Hibs families you start thinking ‘am I going to see this happen?’
"If I wasn't playing and Hibs won the Scottish Cup my family would be celebrating like they were anyway but to have me in the team that eventually won it just made it extra special."
Is there a warning for Hibs ahead of tomorrow’s tie given it was the Blues that ended Brora Rangers’ cup dream after they eliminated Hearts?
“There’s no doubt Stranraer are dangerous opponents. They are in good form and we all know what can happen in cup football," Hanlon agreed.
“We played Brora in the League Cup and they are no mugs. That was a massive disappointment for Hearts but these teams are getting back up to peak fitness with a run of games.
“I always felt my best when the games were coming thick and fast so I reckon the Stranraer lads will feel quite good at the minute.”
As well as former Easter Road youth prospects Ruari Paton and Matty Yates, Hanlon and his defensive colleagues could come up against another former Hibee in Darryl Duffy.
“Darryl was a tremendous professional when he was here,” Hanlon said. “He gave his all every day and is still looking as fit as ever.
“Hopefully we can keep him quiet.”