Alan Stubbs wants memories of Hibernian’s most recent derby victory to be the spur for his players in their bid to lift the League Cup at Hampden tomorrow.
Almost 30,000 supporters of the Leith club will make their way to Glasgow for the clash with Ross County but the national stadium has been a scene of despair for them in their two finals since Hibs’ 5-1 League Cup final success over Kilmarnock in 2007 – their last major honour.
A 5-1 reverse against bitter rivals Hearts in the Scottish Cup showpiece of 2012 stains Hibs’ recent history. As does a meek surrender to Celtic in a 3-0 final loss in the same tournament a year later.
Throw in a Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Falkirk a year ago and happiness at Hampden for Hibs fans has become alien.
So manager Stubbs would rather recall the jubilation brought about by the Scottish Cup fifth-round victory over Hearts at Easter Road last month.
The Englishman said: “The fans have been amazing with me since I came here and it would mean an awful lot to send them home happy on Sunday.
“We’ve tried to pick the club up since we came in and we’ve made steady progress. I think the final on Sunday is a sign of that, but it’s only a sign,” added the 42-year-old former Everton and Celtic player, who has been in charge of the Championship side for 22 months.
“People never remember the losers. They only remember the winners. On Sunday, we want to be the winners. We know we can see fantastic scenes again at the end of the game. We don’t want to see the flipside of that.
“If players needed any indication, or anything to not see, that should be their motive on Sunday. Because what we saw against Hearts was better than good – it was fantastic. I think if we were to see that on Sunday it would be something everybody would be speaking about again.”
In terms of the players available to him, following progress made by Fraser Fyvie during the club’s pre-final trip to Malaga, Stubbs refused to rule out a return for the midfielder this weekend.
Sidelined for the past five-and-a-half weeks after damaging knee ligaments, Fyvie appears now to have an outside chance of making a cup final squad which will be without the injured Dylan McGeouch.
Stubbs added: “Over the next 48 hours, [the situation with Fyvie] will become clear. He has been running and doing some training over there. Tomorrow we will have a much better indication.”
Ross County manager Jim McIntyre, meanwhile, has told his players to treat tomorrow’s final as if it is the last game they will ever play.
The former Kilmarnock, Dundee United and Dunfermline striker made several final appearances as a player and said: “It’s not every day you get to play in cup finals. A cup final, for me, you have got to treat it as if it’s the last game you are ever going to play, and you have to do everything you can to try to be successful.”