Why Hibs can finally look forward to Aston Villa European test

Hibs No.2 Adam Owen believes everyone at the club can now start to look forward to the prospect of a battle of Britain with Aston Villa after knocking Raith Rovers out of the Viaplay Cup to set up a quarter-final clash with St Mirren.
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Goals from Élie Youan and Dylan Vente either side of Callum Smith’s strike were enough for the hosts, who will now welcome the Buddies to Easter Road for their last-eight encounter on the midweek of September 26-28.

Speaking afterwards, Lee Johnson’s right-hand man said: “It was a good afternoon’s work. Cup ties are never easy, irrespective of who you play. Effectively it becomes a cup final for them so it was good to get through. It was good to get a win ahead of the Vill game and really good we managed to rotate the lads and give them a bit of a breather going into the next one.”

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Villa put four past Everton in their Premier League fixture played at the same time as Hibs’ victory over Raith and Owen believes entering the Europa Conference League play-off clash as the underdogs can suit Hibs.

Adam Owen was relieved to see Hibs get through a potentially tricky Viaplay Cup clash with Raith Rovers. Picture: Mark Scates / SNS GroupAdam Owen was relieved to see Hibs get through a potentially tricky Viaplay Cup clash with Raith Rovers. Picture: Mark Scates / SNS Group
Adam Owen was relieved to see Hibs get through a potentially tricky Viaplay Cup clash with Raith Rovers. Picture: Mark Scates / SNS Group

"I’ve always quite enjoyed the underdog mentality to be honest with you,” he continued. “From where we are the lads are looking forward to it, the staff are looking forward to it. We will be well prepared and we are really pleased we managed to get through this one without extra time with the squad rotation being a big part of that. Everyone is looking forward to it.

“[The excitement] has probably been bubbling around outside the club rather than inside. We have been going from one place to another travelling, playing, recovering; travelling, playing, recovering. You don’t really think about it until it’s your next game.

"We won't be preparing the team any differently to how we would for any other game. We always try to have a plan in place that we want to go and execute. Aston Villa are the favourites to win the tournament and rightly so with the budget that they have, but it's an opportunity for us to go and enjoy a game the likes of which the club has rarely seen for a number of years.”