McPAKE HOPING TO CELEBRATE CUP TRIUMPH
Captain James McPake hopes Hibernian win the William Hill Scottish Cup against rivals Hearts on Saturday so supporters can end their century-long wait and revel in the triumph for the next 100 years.
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Hibs go into the first all-Edinburgh Scottish Cup final since 1896 seeking to win the trophy for the first time since 1902.
It has long been the subject of taunts from fans of Hearts, who lifted the trophy in 1998 and 2006, and while McPake insists the chance to be history-makers will not be on the mind of Hibs' players on Saturday, it is an opportunity.
"It's something that spurs us on, but on the day we will not be thinking about that 110 years, we'll just be thinking about that 90 minutes, or 90 minutes plus extra time," McPake said.
"That's our chance to wipe away all the 110 years of history and make us heroes at this football club.
"For this football club to win the Scottish Cup would be massive, but for the fans especially, if we could go out and win it against Hearts it would be something they'd talk about for probably the next 110 years."
In 14 appearances, McPake has made a short, but crucial, contribution in Hibs' history since being signed by Pat Fenlon in January.
The 27-year-old joined on loan from Coventry and was immediately appointed captain, sent off on his debut at Rangers and returned from suspension to play a vital role as Hibs secured Clydesdale Bank Premier League survival with a win over Dunfermline in the penultimate match of the season.
The Hampden final is set to be his last for Hibs, with McPake poised to return to Coventry, now an npower League One side following their relegation from the Championship, next season.
"Unless I hear otherwise I'll be back at Coventry on July 1," added McPake, who is under contract at the Ricoh Arena for another year.
"I knew as soon as we got to the final that it's a good chance it will be my last game for Hibs. It's something I've dealt with already.
"What better way than to go out hopefully as a Scottish Cup-winning captain."
McPake has not yet allowed himself to contemplate lifting the trophy.
He added: "I'm trying not to think about that too much, but to be the first person in 110 years to lift the cup for what is a fantastic football club would be great.
"It would be a huge honour and that would be great if that's what happens at the end of the day.
"It would be the best possible scenario to go out on."
McPake added steel to Hibs' defence in their battle to retain their SPL status and, after signing, considered the cup as little more than an opportunity for game time.
"I never envisaged the day that it's going to be on Saturday," the former Livingston defender added.
"I knew they were in the cup, but in my eyes that was just some more games for me to play in."
He added: "In a strange way it's been good for us that we've been in a relegation battle.
"Like Hearts have had meaningful games playing for Europe, we've had meaningful games trying to stay in the league.
"That keeps your focus. Come the end of the season if you're safe in mid-table, you relax a bit. We've not been able to do that."
After achieving his one target on signing for Hibs, McPake will now hope to help end a 10-match winless run against Hearts with a first Edinburgh derby win in three years.
McPake added: "It's something we all want to erase because it's not a great record.
"We shouldn't be going 10 games without beating them, so what better way to change it than on Saturday."
McPake could be up against Craig Beattie if the Hearts striker proves his fitness following a hamstring injury.
The Hibs captain knows he faces a difficult afternoon whether Beattie is fit or not, but predicts in Garry O'Connor and Leigh Griffiths - the scorers as Hibs beat Aberdeen in the semi-final last month - his side have match-winners of their own.
"On their day there's not many better partnerships in the SPL," McPake added.