Joe Newell explains mindset Hibs players will need to beat Celtic in Premier Sports Cup final

Joe Newell has laid out the mindset he and his fellow Hibs team-mates need to adopt if they’re going to defeat Celtic in next month’s Premier Sports Cup final.

By Craig Fowler
Monday, 29th November 2021, 4:16 pm
Joe Newell celebrates at full-time as Hibs defeat Rangers in the Premier Sports Cup semi-final. Picture: SNS
Joe Newell celebrates at full-time as Hibs defeat Rangers in the Premier Sports Cup semi-final. Picture: SNS

Jack Ross’ side have made it to the Hampden showpiece a 3-1 semi-final victory over Rangers a week past Sunday set up a clash with Ange Postecoglou’s side.

Hibs, under the guidance of Jack Ross, have reached the semi-final stage of the last four major domestic tournaments and qualified for the past two finals, though they’ve yet to bring a piece of silverware back to Easter Road for the first time since the famous 2016 Scottish Cup triumph.

In May they suffered heartache in the same competition with a 1-0 defeat to St Johnstone and, on paper at least, a match-up against Celtic appears to be a much tougher test – especially as the Hoops won 3-1 at Easter Road recently – but Newell reckons the Leith club have every chance if they fully believe in themselves.

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“Firstly, to win the League Cup would be amazing, to win it with Hibs would be unbelievable, and to win it by defeating the Old Firm in both the semi-final and the final would be even better,” Newell told Graham Spiers on the Press Box Podcast.

“That’s your motivation right there: to mix it with the two biggest clubs in the league. To show them that, OK, maybe not the standard we usually are, but we can certainly mix it with them on our day.

“I lot of it comes down to individuals in the team and what our mindset is. So if I’m walking out on to the field against Celtic, I’m personally thinking I want to show everybody we’re as good as Celtic’s midfielders. You go out thinking I’m good enough to play for Celtic and to play at a higher level if I want to.

“When you are the underdogs you need that little bit of motivation individually to buy into the thought process that you can beat them.

“And collectively the motivation is about winning the cup. It’s one game, isn’t it? You can see what happened in 35 minutes against Rangers.

“Don’t get me wrong. They’re a very good side at the minute. They battered us down at our place in the first half a few weeks ago, so we know their strengths. But in a cup final it’s all to play for.”

Hibs received a lot of plaudits for their performance against Rangers in the semi-final victory, but the players themselves still thought they had more to give.

“When we got in at half-time we were like, ‘are we playing that well?’ We didn’t think we were playing that well,” Newell admitted.

“I remember walking back to the half-way line after Boyle scored the penalty and thinking, ‘is this actually happening? Are we actually 3-0 up against Rangers in the semi-final? What is going on?’

“It was one of those games where everything just clicks. It was just an unbelievable feeling.”

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