Hibernian boss Jack Ross aims to cement his long-standing love for the Scottish Cup with victory over St Johnstone in Saturday’s final at Hampden Park.
The competition was “special” to the 44-year-old long before he embarked on a playing career which saw him feature for Clyde, Falkirk and St Mirren among other clubs before he moved into management.
The Easter Road club last won the trophy in 2016, for the first time in 114 years, and the former Alloa, St Mirren and Sunderland boss will be delighted if he can return it to Leith.
He said: “It is a special tournament for me, the Scottish Cup was a big part of my childhood growing up.
“It has always been special, the attraction of it has never changed for me.
“The drive to try to win the competition has never changed but the way in which to do it has obviously changed for me.
“Once your playing days are finished that chance goes, you don’t know what lies ahead, you maybe think it has gone forever.
“But the fact that I am lucky enough to have that opportunity as a manager is one that I am grateful for.
“It is one I am hugely excited about, I would love to be successful on Saturday, I would love to go and win the tournament because of how special I think the competition is.”
It is already a momentous season for Hibs after they clinched third place in the Scottish Premiership for the first time since 2005 and in doing so players such as striker Kevin Nisbet and defender Ryan Porteous have attracted attention from other clubs.
However, Ross shrugged aside the possibility of losing some key players in the summer to focus on the final against the Betfred Cup holders.
He said: “Irrespective of whether this is a group who split or stay together, they have worked incredibly hard to put themselves in this position.
“They have been very good over the course of the season, I don’t think they want to let this opportunity slip by.
“It is not easy to get to a cup final. Unless you are very fortunate, they don’t come around that often so it is a brilliant opportunity at the weekend to write themselves into the history books of the club.”
Ross rested a clutch of regular starters for the last game of the season at home to Celtic on Saturday which ended in a goalless draw.
With no fresh injuries, he revealed his cup-final side has already been selected.
Ross said: “In cup-final week the clarity of thought is important.
“The players know the team and it gives us that really good preparation time in terms of making sure we are ready to go on Saturday.
“We have enough days to prepare us properly for the game in terms of tactics and a lot is around the same routine as we have done pretty much all season.
“I understand that if we are successful on Saturday it will absolutely be recognised as an outstanding season for the club.
“But irrespective of the result, the players and staff should be given a lot of credit.
“The players have shown huge consistency in their approach to want to achieve success.
“I told them how proud I was of them to achieve third, the club hadn’t done it for a long time and I’m equally as proud that they have reached a cup final.
“But I am desperate for them to get their rewards at the weekend by winning a trophy. That is a huge motivation for us.”