KEITH Watson is desperate to secure compensation by helping Hibernian to promotion after missing out on potential cup glory on two fronts.
Central Park in Cowdenbeath is a long way from Hampden Park in every sense. While Watson is due there with Hibs this weekend, his erstwhile Dundee United team-mates are preparing to step out at the national stadium in the following day’s League Cup final against Celtic.
Not that Watson is bitter about the unusual circumstances which mean he cannot even console himself with the thought of going to Hampden with Hibs next month for their Scottish Cup semi-final with Falkirk. Doubling his frustration, he is cup-tied for that clash.
As an on-loan Hibs player, he cannot help but be affected by the rising excitement as the Easter Road side seek to scratch a 113-year Scottish Cup itch.
But cruelly, he cannot play any active part after appearing for United when they met Motherwell in an earlier round. “I am cup-tied but I hope Hibs can go all the way – I will be supporting them and maybe I can sneak into the after party,” he smiled.
“I am disappointed I am cup-tied but hopefully they can go on and do well.”
The 25-year-old seems impressively stoical about the way things have worked out. While he will watch United this weekend and of course wishes them well, he has decided against going to Hampden. Underlining how his commitment is to Hibs at present, he hasn’t even got a ticket for the game.
“I will be looking forward to watching it,” he said. “I hope the boys will do well in the final. I have not got a ticket so I will probably just watch it in the house. I will be supporting the boys obviously and hopefully they can go and beat them [Celtic]. But I am a Hibs player at the moment,” he added.
“I will let them get on with it and I will look forward to playing for Hibs.”
Even though he played in an earlier round win over Dundee, he is not in line for a medal should United win on Sunday. “I think you need to be involved in the 16 at the final,” he said.
“As I said, I will be watching on telly. But I am a Hibs player and I will concentrate 100 per cent on that.
“I have no regrets, none at all. I am enjoying my football here. I have played most weeks so far and we are winning games and I am enjoying my football again.”
Winning promotion to the Premiership could help secure his long-term future at a club where, Watson is happy to report, he is enjoying his football once again. The full-back was among the stand-outs on Wednesday night as Hibs clinched a last-gasp victory over Livingston.
Franck Dja Djedje’s 88th-minute winner, just a minute after Livingston had equalised through Ibra Sekajja, means the Easter Road side are still well-set in second place as they try to eliminate the need for an extra play-off game.
This remains Watson’s sole focus despite the cup fever that surrounds him. As a United player, albeit one who knows his time at the club is now up, he admits he has more than passing interest in this weekend’s League Cup final.
But Watson confirmed he is not returning to Tannadice, whatever happens at the end of the season. “My contract at Dundee United is up and I won’t be staying there,” he said. “I will have to wait and see what my options are.”
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