Darren McGregor explains why fellow Hibs fan Ryan Porteous deserves cup final place ahead of him

Defender Darren McGregor has backed the return of Ryan Porteous to Hibs’ starting line-up for next weekend’s Scottish Cup final.

The young Euros hopeful came off injured as the Easter Road club overcame Dundee United in the last four and was rested for the league visit to face Aberdeen on Wednesday as his colleagues secured Hibs’ top three finish – their first in 16 years. On both occasions McGregor filled the void, producing solid, impenetrable displays.

But, while the 2016 Scottish Cup winner would be a dependable Hampden inclusion, the 35-year-old says that his younger team-mate has earned the opportunity to resume his place in the centre of the backline.

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“I am honest, and I have said this to Ryan...I think he deserves to play in the cup final. If he’s fit he deserves to play,” McGregor stressed.

Hibs defenders Ryan Porteous (left) and Darren McGregor have both made important contributions in a memorable season for the Leith club. Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group

“He’s a Hibs fan like myself, he has worked ever so hard this season and he has improved tremendously in terms of his mentality and his physicality.

“He’s destined for the top so I wouldn’t take that opportunity away from him. I think it was more of a precaution he didn’t play against Aberdeen.

“I am always proud and humbled to play for this club and every time I get the opportunity I am going to take it with both hands.

“It’s difficult the older you get when you don’t have that consistency of playing week in, week out. But for me the big thing is the gaffer knows he can trust me and rely on me so when things like that do happen I am ready to go in.”

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