James McPake calls on Griffiths to keep his cool
HIBERNIAN skipper James McPake will try his best to keep Leigh Griffiths out of trouble in the powder keg atmosphere of tomorrow’s Edinburgh derby – but he reckons any attempts at cooling his pal’s fiery temperament are pointless.
McPake has known the explosive striker since he was an aspiring 16-year-old during their time together at Livingston and admits the 21-year-old has not changed a bit since then.
He reckons even Griffiths himself will know that he has acted “silly” to rack up this season’s string of indiscipline, which has seen the Scotland under-21 cap lose his international place amidst three separate suspensions – two for gesturing to supporters.
A boyhood Hibs fan, Griffiths was deemed fortunate to stay on the pitch on his last visit to Gorgie, when a sliding tackle on Jamie Hamill within four minutes of making his debut as a substitute in the 2-0 defeat in August could have resulted in more than the yellow card he did receive.
However, McPake is desperate to ensure the Hearts fans do not goad the on-form marksman, nicknamed Sparky, into anything either he or the Hibs team will regret at Tynecastle tomorrow lunchtime. Seeking calm heads amidst the frenetic action, the on-loan Coventry defender said: “The manager has been trying to keep the week as normal as possible and not trying to over-hype it.
“You’ve got to be disciplined. We need to keep a lid on players on the pitch. Obviously things happen, tackles or whatever, but we can’t get caught up in the atmosphere of the game. I think you can enjoy it. Tynecastle’s a good place to play, so we’ve got to enjoy it but keep a calm head as well and not get caught up in any silliness, and just go and try and win the football match.
“There are boys in our team who have the potential for getting caught up in it, but I’m sure they’ve got the same in their team.
“Sparky is Sparky. The last derby at Tynecastle was his first game for Hibs and he would have been excited. He’s settled down a bit but I don’t know if that has had anything to do with me coming in and pestering him all the time. I think he thought he had got away from that after our time at Livingston, but we’ll be in his ear before the game and we’ll keep him right.
“I think you’ve got to get on at him because he’s a quality player and we can’t be without him week-in, week-out. He’ll be the first to admit that some of his stuff’s been silly, but if we can keep him here and playing he’s a threat to any team.
“It’s not so much I have a go at him but I keep on at him. I’ve known him for a while, so I know what he’s like. I’ve known him since he was 15 or 16 and he’s the exact same. I don’t think you’ll change him, it’s just a case of trying to manage him.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
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Temperature: 10 C to 20 C
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