McNamara senior: I’d rather Hibs were promoted than win cup

Jackie McNamara snr played in the 1979 Scottish Cup final for Hibs. Picture: Steve Welsh

Jackie McNamara snr played in the 1979 Scottish Cup final for Hibs. Picture: Steve Welsh

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He played in three Scottish Cup finals in the same season with Hibernian and soon learned all about the club’s complex relationship with the tournament.

But while he considers himself to be a football romantic, Jackie McNamara snr needs little time to think about the answer to the question: Scottish Cup or promotion?

“I would definitely take promotion before winning the Scottish Cup,” he said as Hibs battle away on two fronts. McNamara has a better record in the knockout competition than most Hibs players – he played in three finals for the club, only one of which was lost (the first two matches with Rangers in the 1978-79 season finished goalless, before the second replay was lost 3-2).

He claims the length of time since Hibs won the trophy – it was only 77 years then, as opposed to 114 now – was not quite such an issue in those days.

“We played in the 1979 Scottish Cup final and it was three games,” he recalled. “It was never brought to our attention then that it was so long and that Geronimo was alive the last time Hibs won the cup. A lot of Hibs supporters want the monkey off the back of winning the Scottish Cup but I want to go back up to the Premiership.”

He has bad memories of Scottish Cup finals over and above the three-game saga with Rangers in 1979 that ended in such disappointment; he watched the Edinburgh derby final of 2012 while on holiday in Spain, cursing at the television set as Hearts cruised to a 5-1 victory.

“I was nearer Ian Black than the Hibs midfield that day,” he said. “I think there has been a hangover since that game.”

He isn’t motivated by any bitterness when he says he is desperate for Hibs to beat Dundee United in Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final.

Rather than see it as payback to United for the way they treated his son, he simply wants Hibs to make it back to another final. That doesn’t mean to say he agreed with the manner of Jackie jnr’s sacking in September, far from it.

“I am old enough and ugly enough to know how football works and just the way it was done sticks in my throat,” he said, with reference to his son being handed a pre-written letter after a defeat to St Johnstone.

“I thought it was disgusting especially for what he had done for Dundee United financially.

“It wouldn’t make it sweeter beating them for that reason it would just be sweet to beat them in the Scottish cup semi-final to get to the final. Dundee United are a good side but their confidence must be low.”

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