Alan Stubbs has attempted to play down the personal significance of ending Hibs’ Scottish Cup hoodoo at Hampden tomorrow, insisting his predecessors as manager should not be judged on their failure to match the feat last achieved by Dan McMichael all of 114 years ago.
As he prepares to try to win the famous old trophy, which eluded even legendary bosses such as Hugh Shaw and Eddie Turnbull during the Easter Road club’s most glorious eras, Stubbs is convinced this latest attempt against Rangers offers a “difficult but good” opportunity to place the 1902 triumph firmly in the past.
It would certainly earn Stubbs the eternal gratitude of Hibs supporters but he declines to regard the challenge from that perspective.
“It doesn’t mean the previous managers were not great because they didn’t win it,” said Stubbs.
“It certainly helps on your CV but, for me, Saturday is all about one thing and that is trying to win the game.
“We know if we win the game then everything else falls into place. The adulation, the writing of themselves into history, all of that falls into place. The players could become legends but I’ve said all along that I’m not really interested in me. I’d be more pleased for the players and the club as a whole. The players have had a long, tough season and it would be a fantastic way to end it.
“Maybe I wouldn’t have to buy a pint in Leith ever again, but that’s not to say I have to buy one already when I go out there!
“It’s exciting right now. No matter who you are, you are thinking about the what ifs, the maybes and looking at all the scenarios of the day. But once you get to kick-off time, the serious business kicks in and, more often than not, the best team on the day goes on and wins it.
“I don’t think you can ignore the history. It’s such a fantastic occasion and what’s at stake is something they will remember for the rest of their lives.
“When it’s something as significant as that, it would be foolish not to use it. But it won’t be the only thing – there will be other things I’ll speak to them about.
“But they have a chance to, firstly, win a game of football but then, by winning it, we all know what it will mean.
“It will end one day, Hibs will win the Scottish Cup again. The club is too big for it to carry on forever. On Saturday we have a difficult opportunity, but a good opportunity to beat a very good football team.
“I’m surprised it’s been so long since Hibs won it, but there is evidence of big clubs and players who don’t get to major cup finals but have been fantastic players.
“Our players will be waking up on Saturday morning and will be fulfilling something they dreamt about as a kid and that’s fantastic.
“The players are definitely aware of the significance, some of the players will read newspapers, they’ll be told it by fans. Even if you want to get away from it, it’s there. It’s a part of winning it, it’s about understanding what’s gone on in the past and what has stopped the club from winning it for such a long time.
“You can’t end that wait unless you are in a final. Our players have an opportunity to make history.”
Stubbs is confident his players will have recovered sufficiently from both the physical exertions and mental disappointment of their unsuccessful promotion bid which ended with late defeat in the second leg of the play-off semi-final at Falkirk last Friday night.
“Before Friday, we were ready for the game,” he said. “The result didn’t go our way but then our attention was immediately focused on Monday and moving on. The players were given the weekend off to go and spend time with their families and basically move on.
“You have to move on, if you stand still in football it will bypass you. The players came in on Monday and trained very well as they did on Tuesday. They trained with a real edge. I was very pleased, they trained the way a team should train when they have a big game coming up.
“They have got over Friday because they had to and they have a fantastic game to look forward to on Saturday.”