Scottish Cup final: Pat Fenlon knows final team
The Easter Road manager has doubts over the selection of skipper James McPake and full-back Tim Clancy, both of whom have been out of action for a month with injuries.
Fenlon has said he will assess the pair’s readiness in training this week and confessed he faces a “decision” over whether to plunge them straight back into the side for Hampden if they prove their fitness. However, the Irishman is adamant he already has his preferred starting XI in his head and will spend the coming days ensuring they are fully primed for a tilt at glory.
He said: “I’m fairly confident with the team we’ll play. So, we’ll work on that during the week and make sure we are prepared as much as we can be and we give the players as much information as we can in relation to Celtic. And then go and play our own game as well. That’s important, that we don’t get caught up and hung up on them.
“We are good enough to go and take them on and that’s what we’ve got to try and do.”
Fenlon has changed his approach to Sunday’s showpiece compared to 12 months ago, when a pre-match trip to his native Dublin failed to draw the desired response from his players in their historic cup final with Hearts. The 5-1 hammering from their bitter Edinburgh rivals left Hibs shattered and left Fenlon with a huge task in trying to rebuild confidence, belief and trust this term.
That score-line last May ensured there could be no pleasure taken from the experience for Hibs, but Fenlon has urged his squad to ensure they “enjoy” the build-up to Sunday and earn themselves the ultimate joy by lifting the trophy.
He added: “We’ve worked tremendously hard to get ourselves there. We’ve got to enjoy it, but the only way to go and enjoy the cup is to go and win it, so we’ve got to embrace it and be positive. Training, we hope, should be good this week and we’ve got to look forward to it. I know from speaking to them that the supporters are looking forward to it and the players and the staff are in the same boat.”
On the fact Hibs have not won the cup since 1902, Fenlon added on Hibernian TV: “There’s only one way to stop it and that’s to go and win it. Please God, we can win it and then that’s the end of that question for a few years!”