Liam Henderson: I’m already a double winner

Hibernian's Liam Henderson has league and cup medals from Norway. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
Hibernian's Liam Henderson has league and cup medals from Norway. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
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Liam Henderson already has two winner’s medals in his pocket – delivered by the postman to his Broxburn home.

The 19-year-old earned his gongs by helping Rosenborg complete the league and cup double while on loan in Norway from Celtic.

And, even although he was nearly 600 miles away as his former team-mates defeated Sarbsborg 2-0 in the final in Oslo’s Ulleval Stadion – he was helping Hibs beat Alloa Athletic in the less salubrious surroundings of the Indodrill Stadium, he was still entitled to his medal having played in earlier rounds.

The midfielder said: “Rosenborg won the Tippeligaen and the cup so I got two medals sent over for me.

“It was strange to get a cup medal because in Britain you have to be part of the match-day squad to qualify whereas in Norway you only need to play in one round.

“But I’m delighted the boys went on to win that trophy and I’m proud of the medal.

“My mum is looking after it – she put it in my wardrobe somewhere. I’m not really the sort of person to look at things like that yet because I am still young and there will be plenty of time for me to look back at my career when it’s finished.

“The day of the final was the same weekend. We had a Championship match so I didn’t watch it, but I checked the score on my phone and texted some of the boys to congratulate them. They texted back to wish me the best for the season.

“I keep in touch with Jonas Svensson, the right back, Fredrik
Midstjo and Ole Salinas who has just gone to St Etienne in France.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time over there, made friends. People don’t realise how massive a club that is. The manager was brilliant for me as well.”

Now Henderson is desperate to add another two cup medals to his collection as Hibs face Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup on Sunday with the final of the League Cup against Ross County to follow seven days later.

These games come hard on the heels of three successive 
defeats for Alan Stubbs’ side, losses which have put a huge dent in the Edinburgh club’s bid to win the Championship – and the one automatic promotion place the title carries.

But, Henderson agreed, they come as a welcome distraction from league business, he and his team-mates having enjoyed a remarkable record against Premiership sides this season, Aberdeen, Dundee United and St Johnstone all beaten en route to Hampden in the League Cup and Capital rivals Hearts knocked out of the Scottish, Hibs having come back from being two goals down with only ten minutes to play at Tynecastle to force a replay which was settled by Jason Cummings’ 20th goal of the season.

And, he insisted, those defeats by Morton, Dumbarton and Queen of the South in the space of six days had done nothing to lessen the confidence of Stubbs’ players.

He said: “Being totally honest,
I couldn’t put my finger on what has gone wrong. It’s been a strange experience losing these last few games. Sometimes football is hard to understand.

“We’ve been plugging away, we’ve had plenty of possession and created lots of chances. We’ve just been unfortunate that we haven’t had the rub of the green.

“But you are judged on how you react and how you bounce back. We are all working hard and that is the only way you will turn this round.

“Everyone is pretty relaxed, from the manager through to the players. When you are in these spells, everyone is trying to do what they can to dig us out of this hole, but everyone is completely relaxed and workng hard in training.

“It’s always nice to get a wee break from the league. We’ve had a lot of games in the league in the last month to the cup is a nice distraction to have.”

Some may suggest Stubbs’ players have taken their eye off the ball after beating Hearts, their minds having wandered to these cup matches – a suggestion that Henderson immediately rejected.

He said: “We show every team the same respect and analyse all of our opponents in the same manner. It’s just a blip we’re going through although it’s come at not a great time. However, tomorrow is a massive game and we are looking forward to it.

“Inverness are a good side and play football the right way. John Hughes has them playing attractive stuff so it should be a good game.

“We’ll stay with the same game plan and try to play the same football. Inverness are pretty similar, a young team who like to get the ball down and work hard. They are the cup holders, not for no reason, and they will be out to retain that trophy.”

And if Hibs title hopes seem no more than a distant dream, Henderson revealed he’s not entirely given up hope, noting: “Potentially I could end up with five medals – hopefully I do. I need to put in the best performances I can.”