Michael Weir: Hibs players must grasp opportunity to become legends

There is a huge opportunity for Hibs players at Hampden today and I just hope they go out and grasp it.

By Michael Weir
Saturday, 22nd May 2021, 11:00 am
Hibs will hope to take the Scottish Cup back to Edinburgh by defeating St Johnstone at Hampden in today's final (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Hibs will hope to take the Scottish Cup back to Edinburgh by defeating St Johnstone at Hampden in today's final (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

I think the players who have already won the Scottish Cup will understand it - your Paul Hanlons, Lewis Stevensons, David Grays, and these type of guys. They will understand what's at stake, but I don't think the other players will realise it until they achieve it.

If they win the cup they will be elevated to legendary status. I can't believe the amount of people that still talk to me about the League Cup final against Dunfermline way back 30-odd years ago. It never leaves people. It means so much to the supporters, whether it's a young one just starting to watch Hibs or an older fan, they never forget a cup final win. That's what the players have got to look forward to. They'll be part of the great history of Hibs if they can lift the cup, and they'll deserve it if they do.

I just hope on the day they perform. You need your matchwinners to show up - guys like Nisbet, Boyle and Doidge - and if they do we've got enough in the team to win it. The pressure is on but the players should never be afraid of that.

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The one disappointment for me is that there won't be any Hibs fans in Hampden to cheer them on. No matter what anybody tells you about getting used to matches without supporters, for me, that's a load of nonsense. You will always miss the supporters and the atmosphere they bring. We'll definitely miss that massive Hibs support at Hampden, it's just unfortunate that these are the times we are in. The players just have to make the most of it.

When I think back to 1991, what I remember most is walking down the tunnel and hearing the noise and feeling the atmosphere. Then walking out and looking to the right and seeing the huge Hibs support. It gave you such a lift as a player, and I remember thinking, 'we can't lose with a support like that'. I was nervous but it lifted me at the same time and made me want to get out on the pitch and win the cup for them. I feel for the players that they won't have that same experience, but they've just got to go out and enjoy it, imagine all the people back home cheering them on, and try to make sure they bring the cup back to Edinburgh.

Back then, we were in a similar situation. All the pressure was on us, we were heavy favourites, and that can carry its own burden. There was plenty pressure on us, but it was a good pressure. You would rather have the pressure of playing in a cup final than playing in relegation battle like the Kilmarnock players this week. As a footballer you shouldn't go out there and dread it, you should be looking forward to it and always thinking positively. If you start thinking negative for one little bit then you're in trouble. I think that's what happened in the semi-finals against Hearts and St Johnstone. When we went behind we went to pieces and never reacted well enough. That's what cost us. Hopefully that doesn't happen this time, and we manage to get our noses in front. It's a strong-minded person's game, you need to be able to handle it. It's okay being up for it, but it's important to play with a level of composure and control.

That's why the manager has big decisions to make over who makes the starting eleven. It's a one off game and you have to get it right. It's really just down to who he feels is able to cope with the occasion. That is the key to it because nerves can take all the energy out of you. I've seen it happen to players. Jack will know the players he thinks can cope with the event, and I'm sure he'll make the right call.

Hibs' Mickey Weir (left) is brought down by Ray Sharp and wins a penalty in the 1991 Skol Cup final win over Dunfermline

When it comes to the Scottish Cup final it is all about who performs on the day. It's a tough one to call, both sides will fancy their chances, but I'm looking forward to it. St Johnstone are a very competent side so Hibs will have to play well. But the most important thing is just to win it. That's all that matters. Because if you lose it, you'll regret it. For some players it might be their last cup final. Just make sure you find a way to win it, then you can enjoy yourselves after the game.

People talk about tactics. There's no such thing as tactics in a cup final because the players are all up for it and they know what's at stake. They've just got to make sure they win it. Cup finals don't come along too often, so just go out there and refuse to lose. Play with that attitude and everything will look after itself.

It's not a game the players should be fearing. It's a game they should be excited about because it's a chance for them to create history for the club and for themselves.

I don't think the past results will have any bearing, because this is a completely different game and occasion.

Kevin Nisbet will be key to Hibs' hopes of winning the Scottish Cup at Hampden. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

I've got a good feeling for it, and when I get that feeling I'm not normally too far away. I never had it when we played them the last time, but for this one, I've got a good feeling. I just hope I'm right.

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