Scottish FA Cup Final
History beckons for Cup final rivals
Hibernian and Rangers today contest the first-ever Scottish Cup Final to feature two teams from outside the top division and one of them will be the first non top flight team since East Fife in 1938 to win the trophy.
The victors will have the added incentive of qualifying for the money-spinning Europa League next season.
Other records could be broken today, including Hibs’ unwanted wait to win the Cup since beating Celtic 1-0 in 1902. Should they do so then Alan Stubbs would become only the second English manager since Reg Smith led Falkirk to victory in 1957.
It is also Stubbs’ 100th game in charge of the Easter Road club, and defeat will prompt speculation that it could also be his last.
He has been linked with vacancies in England and losing to Rangers today would complete another unwanted record of failure in two cup finals as well as losing to Falkirk in the play-off final.
Rangers manager Mark Warburton is looking to build on his PFA Scotland manager of the year award by winning his third piece of silverware. The former Brentford manager has led the Ibrox club to the Championship trophy and the Petrofac Training Cup in his first season. Victory today would further enhance his credentials.
Despite a poor end to the season, which included a 3-2 defeat to today’s opponents, Rangers are favourites to lift the cup.
Hibs, who finished third in the Championship, have lost their last 10 finals, most recently to Celtic in 2013.
Rangers hope to lift the trophy for the 34th time – only two fewer than Celtic – in their 51st final.
Of 348 meetings between Rangers and Hibs, the former have lost just 69.
Warburton has top scorer Martyn Waghorn available after the former Wigan striker returned from injury, but on-loan Tottenham defender Dominic Ball will miss the game through suspension.
Wingers Michael O’Halloran and Billy King are cup-tied, while midfielders Harry Forrester and David Templeton are injured.
Hibs midfielder Dylan McGeouch has recovered from a groin problem but an injured hamstring will keep striker Farid El Alagui on the sidelines.
In-form James Keatings, who scored twice in the defeat at Falkirk, may get the nod over Jason Cummings who has yet to strike up a convincing partnership with on-loan Celtic striker Anthony Stokes.