Fraser Fyvie had already resigned himself to missing out on Sunday’s League Cup final, but he now feels he could make a late dash for a place in Hibernian’s match-day squad.
The midfielder suffered a medial ligament injury in the away win over Morton last month and quickly realised that the likely six-to-eight-week recovery period would put his hopes of being involved against Ross County in serious jeopardy.
Having had time to digest the likelihood he would play no part in the Hampden showpiece, the 22-year-old now has a glimmer of hope after making smooth progress in his fightback. While a starting place may be a bridge too far given that Fyvie won’t have played for almost six weeks, Alan Stubbs may decide to put him on the bench, especially given the definite absence of fellow midfielders Dylan McGeouch and Danny Carmichael due to groin injuries.
“It’s getting a lot better,” said Fyvie, who is being put through his paces at Hibs’ La Cala training camp on the Costa del Sol. “We will see where we are by the end of the week but I’m not too far away. Usually a medial is six to eight weeks and it was five weeks on Tuesday. I’ve got a 50-50 chance.
“When it happened I thought I was out of the final but the physios have been great. The first time I thought I may make it was last Thursday when I started twisting and turning. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. It was probably more of a mind-set thing I had to get over.
“I had to tell myself to keep turning. But knowing there is a cup final coming up has driven me on. As a footballer you want to win trophies and medals. The physios told me to target the cup final and if I don’t make it, I will be back the week after. Hopefully this week goes smoothly and come Sunday I can say to the manager I am ready for selection.”
While Fyvie has known for some time that he might miss out on his team’s big day, fellow midfielder McGeouch suffered the hammer blow of being ruled out on cup final week after the ongoing groin problem he has been plagued by this season flared up early in last Sunday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final clash with Inverness Caledonian Thistle. McGeouch and defender Paul Hanlon, who was also ruled out last month, have been watching helplessly from the sidelines in Spain as their colleagues prepare for what could be the biggest game of their careers.
“I’m so gutted for Dylan,” said Fyvie. “He’s had a few problems with his groin and it seems to come back after a couple of games. We are a close bunch and all the boys are gutted for him. He’s an important player for us and for him to be out is a big loss.
“Paul Hanlon too. The big man has been a rock this season, one of our most consistent performers. He’s good to have around because he’s a leader on the pitch and in the dressing room. But the boys who play on Sunday can go out and win it for them and hopefully they can get back fit soon.”
Fyvie’s only previous experience of a cup final came in 2013 when he was an unused substitute for Wigan Athletic as they stunned Manchester City in the FA Cup final. While the Aberdonian, then just 20 years old, was thrilled just to be in the squad that day, the sheen was taken off the Latics’ success by the fact they were relegated to the Championship just days later. He hopes, in Hibs’ case, that possible cup glory this weekend will instead be followed by promotion to the Premiership.
“It was the first year they moved the FA Cup final to before the end of the season so we won the FA Cup and then we were relegated that midweek,” he explained. “We didn’t have a night to celebrate. It’s probably the worst thing I have ever done – not celebrating winning the FA Cup! We did have a night eventually but it’s not the same when you are relegated.
“It took the shine off for me. I never played a lot but the feeling of being relegated is not something I want to experience again. It was the biggest up to the biggest down in a matter of days.
“It would be nice to win a trophy and then get promoted this time. And maybe even win another trophy [the Scottish Cup] after that. We want to win on Sunday. Then for the club, the fans and ourselves we want to get promoted. We don’t want to be stuck in the Championship again. It’s a hard league to get out of. With Rangers being in it. We don’t want to be there next year. We want to go up. That’s the main aim after Sunday’s final.”