Michael Weir: Facing Rangers boosts Hibs' cup hopes
What an excellent weekend it's been with regard to Hibs' prospects of finally winning the Scottish Cup.
I’m not saying playing Rangers in the final will be easy – far from it – but I think every Hibs fan would rather be facing them than the Premiership champions.
Yes, Rangers looked the far better of the two teams yesterday, but I still think coming up against Celtic in a final would have been a more daunting prospect than playing a team which we’ve competed well with over the last two seasons.
We’ve proved this season that we can beat Rangers and we’ve caused problems for them almost every time we’ve played them. In addition, we also know we go into the final with Liam Henderson and Anthony Stokes, which wouldn’t have been the case if we were playing their parent club. They are two of our key men and, as Celtic players, they will thrive on coming up against Rangers in a final.
It’s definitely a more winnable game than playing Celtic would have been and, even though we’ll still be underdogs, we’re entitled to go into it with plenty optimism. If we’re to win it, though, we’ll have to play better than we did against Dundee United on Saturday, but the main thing is that we got through.
Jason Cummings’ penalty miss seemed to knock us out of our early stride and I think his decision to dink it shows he still has a lot to learn. In a semi-final, you don’t try and be clever, you make sure you get the job done. He showed good character to score in the shoot-out but he got off very lightly because if Hibs had lost, the fans wouldn’t have forgotten that in a hurry.
He’s got a lot to thank Conrad Logan for in that regard. I can’t recall a keeper playing so heroically in a semi-final, especially a Hibs one. He’s given Alan Stubbs a real dilemma over whether or not he keeps the gloves because he’s shown he can handle a big game, and we have plenty of those coming up.
The next one is on Wednesday against Rangers. Hopefully the fact that is now a cup final dress rehearsal can help the Hibs players spark their stuttering league campaign back into life. For all the excitement about the Scottish Cup, promotion remains the priority in my eyes.