PAT FENLON today revealed he’d love to win the Scottish Cup for the generations of Hibs fans who’ve never seen the trophy paraded down Easter Road.
While admitting he’ll have his own private thoughts as he leads his team out to face Hearts at Hampden in tomorrow’s momentous all-Edinburgh final, the Irishman disclosed the fact Hibs haven’t lifted the trophy for 110 years will also be firmly in his mind.
Fenlon’s postbag has been bulging over the past couple of weeks from supporters desperate to offer advice and inspiration in the shape of letters, DVDs and books. But he has also received touching personal family stories about fans of yesteryear who lived and died without seeing Hibs win the Cup.
The Irishman said: “I’m conscious of that and what it means to a hell of a lot of people – be they Hibs or Hearts fans.
“It has been so long for the Hibs fans and there are a hell of a lot of stories about people missing out and not seeing it through generations of the same family. It is something I’ve thought about and that is the real reason I’d like to win it, more than anything else.
“I’ve had more letters, DVDs and books sent to me over the last two weeks. They are not all about Hibs, there is a bit of motivation, a bit of getting into people’s heads. I actually got one in relation to generals in a war. They’ve come from complete strangers.
“I also got a letter from a boy in Wexford in Ireland whose grandfather played for Hibs as well. It is very interesting from my point-of-view and it gives you a knowledge of the history of the club and the desire of the club to do well.”
Whether Fenlon uses any of the unsolicited advice in his team talk prior to kick-off remains to be seen, but he is certain he can use one thing as motivation – the fact the vast majority outwith Easter Road see Hearts as favourites, Paulo Sergio’s side having won all three SPL derbies this season in an unbeaten run which now stretches to ten matches.
He said: “I think everybody classes them as favourites apart from ourselves. We think we are capable of winning the game. Everybody apart from our own supporters appear to have written us of, but that is the way it has been since the start of the season so we just have to live with it.”
However, Fenlon believes that having removed the threat of relegation, his players will be heading into tomorrow’s showdown with confidence.
He said: “I have seen it in everybody, not just the players. If we were to have gone down it would have been difficult for everybody and difficult to keep everyone in jobs so there is relief from that point-of-view, considering the way the world is at the moment.
“It’s a massive relief and that is why I focused on it so much because I knew how important it was going to be for the club.
“I think you can utilise that, definitely. There was a lot of pressure on the players going into every SPL game and to come out on the right end of that was a big relief and we need to take that forward into the final. It has been very positive in the last few weeks since the Dunfermline game and we tried to, even although it was difficult, to put the Cup final aside.
“We tried to keep the players focused on the job and that has now helped them and they can look forward to what is a massive day for them. For any footballer it is the pinnacle if you can get to the end of the season and have a Cup final, it’s great to look forward to.”