Hibernian V Hamilton at Easter Road Stadium : Match Preview

24 May 2014 11:01
Hibernian V Hamilton - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Heffernan happy to be playing

Hibernian striker Paul Heffernan is perversely glad the Easter Road men are in the relegation play-offs - because it means he gets to play a part in their survival bid.

The Irishman injured a thigh in the warm-up just minutes before Hibs' final pre-split fixture with Aberdeen.

The injury was supposed to rule him out of the final month of the season but he managed to declare himself fit for their final-day clash with Kilmarnock.

The Leith side lost that crucial clash, though, as they dropped into the play-offs but former Killie striker Heffernan is now looking forward to Sunday's second leg against Hamilton determined to make up for lost time.

Hibs lead 2-0 following Wednesday night's clash at New Douglas Park and the 32-year-old said: "I picked up the injury not that long ago in the warm-up at the Aberdeen game. It wasn't ideal and I thought I would have been out for the season.

"As it's turned out, the play-offs have extended the season. I've managed to get myself fit again and at the minute I feel good - it's just a shame the season is coming to an end now.

"But in a way, it's been good for me that we've had the play-offs because at least I've managed to get back playing and can now try to do my part and help the team out."

Teenage hitman Jason Cummings struck his first pair of goals for Terry Butcher's side to put them ahead of Accies.

But Heffernan insists Hibs still have work to do to preserve their top-flight status.

"You've got to try to treat it as if it's still 0-0," he said. "It's another game that you are starting off from scratch and want to win so, that's the way we are going to approach the game. We don't want to go into the last 15-20 minutes a bit nervy and all of a sudden they get a deflected goal. We're going to attack and hopefully get an early goal."

Kevin Thomson could return to the Hibs midfield. He was on the bench on Wednesday but was not risked by Butcher having only just returned to training following a thigh strain.

However, defender Paul Hanlon misses out due to a knee injury.

Meanwhile, Hamilton goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert has warned Hibs to expect a red and white torrent - because Accies have nothing to lose.

The 31-year-old told Press Association Sport: "Like any cup tie, form can go out the window so we haven't spoken much about Hibs' recent results.

"If you went with the form book, most people would have expected us to win the other night but Hibs did.

"We're just focusing on ourselves right now. We're the ones going for promotion rather than having to stave off relegation. We know we can go all out for the win because we have nothing to lose.

"If we don't get the result, we will be disappointed but nothing will change for this club.

"The team from the Premiership, though, has a lot at stake if they don't win.

"Hopefully if we can get an early chance we can take it and crank up the pressure on Hibs."

Hamilton boss Alex Neil will go with the same squad for the game and could yet decide to start himself after opting not to play on Wednesday despite being cleared for action after serving a three-match.

Source: PA

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