Scottish Premier League

McPake: Hibs owe final to fans

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Tue, 09 Apr 2013 18:24:00

Jack Payne's ankle injury is not as bad as Peterborough initially thought and the on-loan midfielder could be fit for Posh's Championship clash with Watford.

Payne, on loan from Gillingham, was forced off shortly before half-time against Huddersfield on Saturday with suspected ankle ligament damage, which would have kept the 21-year-old on the sidelines for the remainder of the season.

However, a scan has revealed nothing more serious than bruising and Payne has a chance of playing against the Hornets at the weekend.

"Jack is not as bad as feared," Posh boss Darren Ferguson told reporters on Tuesday.

"There is plenty of bruising and swelling, but only a small amount of ligament damage so he has a chance for the weekend.

"He won't train this week and we will leave to the last minute because he's become an influential player for us."

The central defender was part of the team that was humiliated with a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of city rivals Hearts at Hampden last May.

But there is the opportunity for redemption this Saturday as Pat Fenlon's men prepare to take on Irn-Bru First Division outfit Falkirk in the first semi-final of this year's competition.

McPake insists he will travel to the national stadium without fears of another catastrophe and is instead determined to make up for the pain of last year's derby disaster.

He said: "It's a great achievement to make a final one year and a semi-final the next and it could be a great day out for the fans too. But it's only a great day if you win.

"If you ask the fans if they liked their day out last May, they will say no, it was one of the worst days of their lives. That's why we need to turn this round. We need to start turning those bad days into good days for the people of this club."

If Hibs are to clinch a second cup final slot, it will be done against the backdrop of a Clydesdale Bank Premier League campaign that offered much but ended up in dejection.

The Edinburgh outfit sat top of the SPL in November and went on to beat champions-elect Celtic two days before New Year. But since then, they have won just once in the top flight, ultimately costing them their place in the top six.

McPake admits he has no idea why the side have slumped so badly and has warned his team-mates that Saturday's meeting with the Bairns must be used as a springboard to better things.

He said: "It's a huge disappointment because when we sat down before the season to discuss what we wanted to achieve, the minimum was the top six.

"People will say you haven't done enough, but for most of the season we were worthy of a top-six slot. It was only the last few weeks we were not in the top six, but that's football.

"We've only won four games since beating Hearts in December but that shouldn't have happened. That's the bottom line. You can't look at tactics and you can't look at what happens outside. There was games that we should have won but didn't.

"There was games where we played badly, and games where we didn't deserve anything. The St Johnstone game at home springs to mind. I can't think of a reason why that happened but it's something we have to change and change quickly."

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