Teenager Craig Sibbald hopes Falkirk can prove age is no barrier in cup final
CRAIG Sibbald reckons a triumph for Falkirk in tomorrow’s Ramsdens Cup final against Hamilton Accies will prove to other clubs that you can win with kids.
The Bairns have taken on a youthful look this season after massive cutbacks forced manager Steven Pressley to rely on the club’s emerging talents at first-team level.
A run all the way to the Scottish Communities League Cup semi-finals, where they performed admirably in defeat to Celtic, and a promotion push that has only tailed off in recent weeks has made it an impressive campaign for the Westfield outfit.
However, Sibbald, who only left school last summer, wants silverware in the trophy cabinet as a real reward for their efforts – and proof again that former Scotland defender Alan Hansen was wrong to say ‘you can’t win anything with kids’.
With Hamilton also taking on a youthful look this term, the 16-year-old said: “I am really excited about the cup final because it is my first final but I am just trying to focus as if it was any other game.
“I never imagined I would be in a final at the age of 16 but it is good I am getting a chance and I am glad the gaffer has given me that chance. We have got a lot of young players but we have done well in the cup competitions.
“We got to the League Cup semi-final against Celtic and we are in this final as well. If we get the win then hopefully clubs will start realising that maybe young players are the way forward.”
Falkirk do not go into tomorrow’s match at Livingston’s Almondvale Stadium buoyed by the same confidence that saw them knock Rangers and Dundee United out of this season’s League Cup before their semi-final defeat to Celtic. Four defeats in their last five games have betrayed an apparent tiredness and lack of depth to a squad that will have to dig deep to ensure there is no dramatic tailing off as the campaign climaxes.
For defender Rhys Bennett, however, there is definitely no lack of motivation.
“This will be my first cup final and, at the end of the day, winning a trophy is winning a trophy,” said the 20-year-old, who has spent the season on loan from Bolton.
Bennett also hopes to be able to show a medal to his Bolton team-mate Fabrice Muamba, still recovering in hospital after his on-pitch heart attack against Tottenham earlier this month.
“I will try and see Fabrice when I go back. I have six weeks left here and, depending on how he is and stuff like that, I will try and see him because he is one of the people I see every day and he’s part of our ‘family’.
“Hopefully I will be able to show him my medal – even if I don’t think he’ll know what the Ramsdens Cup is! But a medal is a medal and I’ll take it,” he said.
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