Michael Weir: Hibs have to draw strength from bad experiences to finish season strongly

No matter what anyone says, Hibs are the big club in the Scottish Cup semi-finals and when you have that level of expectation on you as a player, you simply have to deal with it.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 12:30 pm
Kevin Nisbet is dejected at full time of the Betfred Cup semi-final between Hibs and St Johnstone

I’ve been in that situation when the pressure is on; part of the team that everyone is expecting to win the cup or to do well.

The players have to deal with that but it is not something to be afraid of, you have to relish the challenge.

The pressure is on the club to deliver. Everything has fallen into their path: Rangers getting knocked out, Aberdeen getting knocked out. They couldn’t have asked for a better chance.

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I don’t think there’s ever been a better chance of Hibs winning the Scottish Cup and I think it’ll be a long time before they have a chance as good as this one. Everything has just fallen into place and it’s time for new heroes.

It’s a chance for the club to make amends for the two previous semi-finals, but also to win a cup and get into Europe.

Yes, there’s pressure. But that’s what comes from playing for such a big club.

Hibs let themselves down a bit, against Hearts and St Johnstone. This is another chance to put things right.

And to be fair to the team, they found something against Motherwell, and the manager has never been afraid to make changes to try and give the team its best chance of success.

The team has hit form but at the same time they seem to have perhaps realised the expectations on them.

The worrying thing for me is that 20-minute lapse in games, and that can sometimes cost you. That’s the only thing that I think needs work. There was a 20-minute spell in the second half against Motherwell where the players risked putting themselves out of the cup.

Just 20 minutes of a lack of concentration. It has to be that. It’s certainly not a lack of ability, but they are extremely unlikely to get away with that against Dundee United, or St Johnstone on Saturday.

Those are the wee things that they have to get out of their game, especially in the big matches. It happened against Hearts – I thought we battered Hearts, and should have beaten them – and it happened against St Johnstone after they started reasonably well.

It seems to be when they fall out of the game and allow teams to come into it and they cannot allow that in the remaining games.

The manager will have told the players that they can’t just switch off in these games. The team wants to win a cup and finish third and if they’re to do that then they know what they need to do.

I’m a huge believer in players learning from bad experiences, and the Hibs players have to learn from the previous semi-finals and turn it round.

Leaders like Darren McGregor or Lewis Stevenson can have a huge impact in letting the rest of the team know what’s expected of them, especially with so many players who don’t have that same big-game experience.

It’s vital that Hibs can draw strength from those defeats. If they can do that, it will stand them in good stead.

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