Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Gordon Smith: Pressure’s on Hibs and not Dundee United in Scottish Cup tie

Hibs manager Alan Stubbs (SNS Group)
Hibs manager Alan Stubbs (SNS Group)

Prior to Martin Boyle’s wonder strike that gave them victory against Livingston last Tuesday, the Easter Road side had picked up just a single point from their last 15 in the Championship.

From a group of players who have beaten FIVE Premiership teams – Hearts, St Johnstone, Aberdeen, Inverness CT and United themselves already this season – that is an alarming slump.

The kind of form, in fact, which brings into question whether they have any credible chance of winning promotion via the play-offs this year.

No one connected with the club will need any reminders of the crushing disappointment felt at the end of last season when their bid to return to the Premiership at the first time of asking spluttered to a halt against a Rangers team who were then comfortably beaten by Motherwell.

Likewise, that the financial implications of another year outside the top tier are liable to be severe.

Yet to understate the importance to Hibs of a shot at reaching the Scottish Cup Final is to disregard history.

This, remember, is the competition they have not won since 1902.

And if many have grown tired of hearing that statistic, it doesn’t change the fact that the current group of players have the chance to become club legends by ending a 114-year wait to bring the famous old trophy back to Easter Road.

The celebrations which would accompany such a success, and the attention it would bring, makes Saturday’s tie a very big deal indeed for Alan Stubbs and his men.

The same doesn’t hold true for Dundee United.

Scottish Cup winners as recently as 2010, and before that in 1994, the Tangerines probably would trade defeat at the National Stadium for a guarantee of retaining their place in the Premiership.

They are not relegated yet. The chance still remains for them to clamber out of bottom place, especially because their final few matches will be against the teams around them in the table.

If relegation was determined by results between now and the final day of the season, they would probably be okay. What we are dealing with, though, is not a race at level weights but a handicap chase.

The question is whether they can do enough to claw back the deficit that is the legacy of a desperate start to the season under the charge of previous manager, Jackie McNamara.

Funnily enough, I expect United to win on Saturday.

The reason for that is because the match will matter less to them than it will to their opponents.

The pressure will be off, it will be a break from the norm, and their flair players will be able to express themselves.

From that platform, United can get the goals that will leave Hibs to add another year to their Scottish Cup famine.


READ MORE

Gordon Smith: It’s time we followed European approach over English

Gordon Smith: Andrew Robertson is the perfect role model for young Scots footballers