By Alan Temple – @CCP_Sport
Liam Henderson will plead with Ronny Deila to allow him to play in the League Cup final if Hibs and Celtic both reach the Hampden showpiece.
Henderson turned in a man of the match display as the capital club saw off St Mirren 3-1 on Saturday – and immediately turned his attention to firing the Hibees in to the first major final of the season.
Hibs face St Johnstone on Saturday at Tynecastle in one semi-final, before the Scottish champions face Ross County at the national stadium on Sunday.
Henderson, who already has one winners’ medal this season from a loan spell with eventual Norwegian champions Rosenborg, would be likely to miss out on a Hibs-Hoops final.
Hibs boss Alan Stubbs has already confirmed that fellow loanee Anthony Stokes would not be able to play against his parent club – however Henderson is praying that the Hoops would make an exception for him.
The 19-year-old smiled: “If Celtic and ourselves made the final I don’t think I’m allowed to play – but that won’t stop me asking!
“No matter what the situation is with me, I’ll be giving my all to try and get us into the final – I’m a Hibs player and my only concentration is this club.
“I am loving my time here and the manager has been brilliant for me. I’ve not even thought that far ahead because we have to take care of St Johnstone in the semi-final first.”
Judging by his dazzling display against St Mirren, Henderson could be the key man if Hibs are to find a way past the Perth Saints on Saturday.
He opened the scoring against the Buddies with a magnificent free-kick, whipping a right-footed effort beyond the desperate dive of Jamie Langfield from 25 yards.
That was the marquee moment of a man-of-the-match display, with the gifted teenager – handed a free role at the tip of Hibs’ midfield diamond – running the game for long periods.
It was Henderson’s midfield partner, John McGinn who doubled the Hibees lead, latching on to a Jason Cummings pass before surging into the box and slotting beyond Langfield.
Stevie Mallan halved arrears with a stunning free-kick from the edge of the box, but any late nerves were eased by returning hero Stokes.
The Ireland international was in the right place at the right time to convert a James Keatings cross following a dazzling run by the former Hearts and Hamilton man.
Henderson added: “Everybody knows what Stokesy is all about. He has played in the Champions League, Europa League and for the Republic of Ireland so he is a great addition to the squad.
“As you saw against St Mirren, he could well score plenty of goals for us this season. When he came on the fans erupted and that helps to give everyone a big lift.
“He is a quality player that the other younger boys will learn from I’m sure.”