Fourth Time Lucky For Sproule?
Speedy Ivan Sproule wants to make it all the way to the Scottish Cup final this time around
Ivan Sproule has some memories he wants to erase when Hibs meet Aberdeen tomorrow for the right to return top Hampden in May for the Scottish Cup final. Hibs fans have waited 110-years to celebrate success in the Scottish Cup since they last lifted the trophy. Hibs have not had the best of seasons and are just seven points clear of Dunfermline at the foot of the SPL. Aberdeen are nine points ahead of their opponents but that will mean nothing come kick-off time tomorrow. During his first spell with Hibs, Sproule played in the last four of the competition in three straight seasons but never made a final, although he was part of the 2007 League Cup-winning side. Sproule was on the losing side against Dundee United, Dunfermline and Hearts in a game which saw him sent off for stamping on an fallen opponent. He said: "This is my fourth semi-final now in the Scottish Cup. It's a monkey I'm looking to shake off my shoulder very quickly. Bad memories all round, but it's something that I can put to bed on Saturday and try to get the club to the final and get one step closer to getting our hands on that cup. You think about all the fantastic players and legends that Hibs have had and it just amazes me how they've never got their hands on the trophy. That has to be a big incentive for our dressing room on Saturday. We could do it probably for all those people that have missed out. That's the chance that we've got. It's 50-50 on Saturday between ourselves and Aberdeen. They'll fancy themselves, but we've got every much a right to get to a final as they do." Hibs fans may have difficulty in knowing all their squad with eight players on loan, the majority of whom were recruited in January during Pat Fenlon's first transfer window as manager. Sproule said: "There will probably be statues of every one of them outside the ground if they did it. That's the chance that they've got and that's the beauty of football. We've had a horrible season, but it could end on a real high. We're still trying to fight our way to survival. Hopefully we're putting ourselves in a good position to do that now. Also we could end up in a cup final and if Celtic make it, that means you get into Europe. But more importantly it's for us to shake that hoodoo off our back and actually go and win the cup." With Hearts playing Celtic on Sunday in the second semi-final, it is possible the final on 19 May could be an all Edinburgh affair if both capital sides successfully negotiate their semi-final ties this weekend. Sproule added: "I would take anybody in the final. Once you get to a final it's anybody's game. It would probably be a more painful one to lose against Hearts, but it would probably be a better one to win. First and foremost we don't look at the final, we look at Saturday and respect Aberdeen. They're coming off the back of a fantastic result against Dundee United, so we'll need to be at our best to get by them first."
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