Lisa Robertson likes to keep things simple in the heart of the Hibs Ladies midfield.
But, as she prepares for tomorrow’s SSE Scottish Cup final against Glasgow City, she admits that last year’s showpiece – also against the SWPL 1 league champions – left her emotions in tatters.
Indeed, it was the 25-year-old’s looping header that had gave the Capital outfit a half-time lead at Hamilton Accies’ Superseal Stadium, only for City’s Hayley Lauder to equalise midway through the second half. With neither side able to find a second goal, the destination of the cup would be decided by a penalty shoot-out. Robertson was first to try from 12 yards, her nerves getting the better of her as she scooped her effort high over the crossbar. However, misses from Lauder, and then Sam Kerr in sudden death, ensured the Hibee’s blushes were spared and the trophy headed east. Robertson is hoping to avoid a similar roller-coaster at Livingston’s Tony Macaroni Arena tomorrow afternoon.
“That was just a whirlwind of emotions last year,” she recalled.
“I was first to take the penalty and when I saw it fly over the bar I didn’t even want to turn round and walk back to the centre circle, I was that gutted.
“The girls were saying when I got back ‘oh it’s fine’ but I was adamant it wasn’t. I felt I’d just lost us the Scottish Cup. Being a Hibs fan too, I was so desperate to win it the same year the men’s team had.
“I didn’t even feel sorry for her [Sam Kerr] for missing the final penalty which sounds quiet cruel but I was just glad it wasn’t me.”
Asked if she would be willing to step forward should the opportunity arise tomorrow, Robertson replied enthusiastically: “Absolutely, no question whatsoever. I would love the chance to put things right but obviously I don’t want it to even get to that stage. I just hope we have the game won by then.
“We’re getting used to being in these situations with cup finals and big games so there is no reason to be nervous.”
Hibs are desperate to hold on to the trophy they won last year having successfully defended the League Cup with victory over Celtic in May.
That said, Kevin Milne’s side’s three defeats this season have all come against City, their most recent a 3-0 reversal at Ainslie Park a fortnight ago that wrapped up an 11th consecutive SWPL title for their rivals.
“We know what this game means so everyone’s ready for it. You can’t dwell on these things when you’ve got such a big game just around the corner so we’ve put that loss to bed,” Robertson, pictured below, said. “We know we didn’t do oursevles any justice two weeks ago so it’s given us that extra motivation to go and put it right. To retain both trophies would be a massive achievement this year. This is probably the best squad since I’ve been at Hibs. We’re a really tight group and I think that helps because we’re all fighting for each other. The girls have been great all week so we’re in good spirits for the game.”
Head coach Milne, meanwhile, is desperate to end the season on a high and says that were Hibs to pull off the win, a lot of credit would go to his predecessor Chris Roberts, who left to join Bristol City Women last month.
“It’s our last game of the season so to have the chance to do the double for a second year running is a huge incentive for the players,” Milne said.
“But we have to remember the job Chris has done too this year before he left to join Bristol.
“We’ve used the training sessions this week to gauge who is ready and who might be best to suit the system that we’re wanting to play so there are still a few final decisions to be made. I was aware of the situation that we had this game to play before I took the job on so it’s something I relish. I was in this situation as an assistant to Chris last year so to go in as manager this year, I feel I have that experience under my belt. We are all desperate for that winning feeling again.”