Shaun Maloney: Hibernian are desperate for Hampden return


Shaun Maloney insists Hibernian should take motivation from both positive and negative experiences as they seek Scottish Cup glory.

The Easter Road outfit lost 2-1 to Celtic in the League Cup final at Hampden Park in December while under the tutelage of caretaker boss David Gray, who scored the famous last-gasp winner in the Scottish Cup final win over Rangers in 2016 which brought the trophy back to Leith for the first time in 114 years.

Hibs passed up on the chance to build on that triumph when they lost 1-0 to St Johnstone in last season’s Scottish Cup final.

Ahead of the quarter-final tie against Motherwell at Fir Park on Sunday, with a semi-final appearance at Hampden Park beckoning for the winners, Maloney said: “When you don’t win cup finals they are difficult, they can scar you and they have had a couple of those in the last couple of years.

“They should also remember how well they done to get there and even some players in the recent past – obviously we have David Gray on the staff here – have done big things for the club, so the players should get motivation from different sources, definitely.

“We are desperate to get back to Hampden and then I feel like you have a chance to win it.

“At the moment, between us and Motherwell, there is a big opportunity to get there.

“It is for us and Motherwell to fight for it and once you get to Hampden, anything can happen.”

Maloney revealed on Friday that striker Kevin Nisbet will be out for seven to nine months following knee surgery.

The Hibs boss believes 19-year-old Elias Melkersen, who signed from Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt in January and who has made substitute appearances against Dundee and St Johnstone this month, can provide a spark “if he can continue to progress as he has”.

Former Celtic and Scotland attacker Maloney, who will have United States international winger Chris Mueller back from illness, said: “I know that the club wanted Elias earlier.

“He had a lot of adapting to do and he has done that now.

“His last two substitute appearances have been very good so he is fighting to start. I am really pleased with how he is doing.”


Source link