Marvin Bartley speaks on Hibs cup finals as he targets silverware with Livingston

On Sunday May 22 2016, Marvin Bartley posted a photo of himself smiling in the sun on an open-topped bus with an endless sea of Hibs fans stretched out behind him in Leith.

Marvin Bartley in action for Hibs at Hampden
Marvin Bartley in action for Hibs at Hampden

It has become one of the enduring images of that parade, as the Easter Road side and their supporters celebrated lifting a 114-year curse.

Bartley was an unused substitute at Hampden the previous day, when David Gray’s injury-time winner secured a 3-2 win for Alan Stubbs’ side, and the Livingston captain insists he would take a backseat again if it guaranteed glory for the West Lothian outfit tomorrow.

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"I didn’t know I wasn’t playing until half past one on the day,” Bartley recalls when asked about the 2016 final.

"If Dave [Martindale] was to say to me, ‘you’re not playing on Sunday but we’re guaranteed to win’ I would take that all day.

"I just want to win the competition. I want to be part of that winning feeling."

The 34-year-old has filled in his Livingston colleagues with every last detail of that day in May, and the subsequent parade through the streets of Edinburgh and Leith as he targets a win in what he feels will be his last major cup final as a player – especially given he missed out on the chance to win the League Cup with Hibs just weeks earlier.

“Luckily we don’t have Liam Fontaine at centre half to assist Ross County,” he laughed, recalling the defender’s touch that set up Alex Schalk for the Staggies winner, before admitting the loss had hit him hard.

"That disappointment did not leave me for a very long time. Even after winning the Scottish Cup you think, ‘I could have had both’,” he said.

"I don’t want anyone in the dressing room feeling like that. It’s why it is so important we go out there and perform.”

Bartley needed convinced that a move to Scotland was right for him in the summer of 2015. Come Sunday evening, he could have lifted two major trophies in five years; something he could not have predicted when told at 18 that he wasn't good enough for an amateur team. Now, he is eager for a chance to prove the doubters wrong.

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He said: “Hibs was fantastic for me and the right sort of opportunity I wanted.

“Managers were trying to sign me and weren’t too pleased I had chosen to come up to Scotland rather than going to help them.”

He added: “I hope some of the people who said to me that I was going up to Scotland because I didn’t want the hustle and bustle of playing in England can look at it now and say I made the right decision.

"It would be nice to win the cup and then send a few pictures to the managers who said I was coming up here to semi-retire.

"It’s so important that you believe in yourself – so, so important – and I’ll never stop having self-belief.”

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