Hibs address mentality issue - and welcome back one player into group

Assistant manager John Potter has dismissed any notion that Hibernian have a mentality issue when it comes to big matches.

Hibs Manager Jack Ross and assistant John Potter during training ahead of Thursday's match at Tannadice.
Hibs Manager Jack Ross and assistant John Potter during training ahead of Thursday's match at Tannadice.

The Easter Road side lost two semi-finals and a final last term despite being favourites in all three games, prompting concerns among supporters about whether they are equipped to deliver when the pressure is at its highest.

As Hibs prepare to try to reach their fourth consecutive semi-final under Jack Ross and Potter's stewardship when they face Dundee United at Tannadice in a Premier Sports Cup quarter-final on Thursday, Potter poured scorn on the suggestion that there is a psychological barrier preventing the team getting over the line.

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Asked whether he felt Hibs had a mental block with big matches, Potter said: "No, not at all. We've won a lot of big games. You don't finish third in the league and get to semi-finals and finals without winning big games. I think people sometimes forget games are difficult – other teams are trying to beat us as well.

"We've actually won a lot of games in the cups. You've got to actually get to quarter-finals and semi-finals to be able to win the thing.

"There were some good moments last year because we got to the latter stages of the tournaments and, if you want to win it, you have to do that. Thursday is another chance to get to Hampden so hopefully we can go and win it."

Hibs played at Hampden four times last term – in the delayed 2020 Scottish Cup semi-final, the League Cup semi-final, and the semi-final and final of the 2021 Scottish Cup – but had no fans present at any of those matches.

Potter is hopeful Hibs – who welcome attacker James Scott back into contention – can get past United on Thursday and earn their supporters a long-awaited return to the national stadium.

He said: "We've got players who have won cups at Hampden and players who have been there and been disappointed. The difficult bit last year was that there were no fans in the stadium so we'd love to get to Hampden and see 20-30,000 Hibs fans there.

"There will always be expectation on Hibs. We're a big club in Scotland and we put expectation on ourselves to finish at the top end of the league and win cups.

"We feel we've got an opportunity to do that."