By Alan Temple, Spain – @CCP_Sport
Hibernian head coach Alan Stubbs insists leading the Easter Road club to League Cup final glory on Sunday would be the pinnacle of his career in football.
The 44-year-old enjoyed a trophy-laden spell with Celtic, and was part of the last Hoops side to win a Treble when Martin O’Neill’s side completed a domestic clean sweep in the 2000/01 campaign.
He also faced Liverpool in the 1995 Coca Cola Cup final with Bolton, succumbing to a 2-1 defeat in front of 75,595 fans at Wembley, and proudly represented his boyhood heroes, Everton, for two years.
However, Stubbs is adamant those achievements and all of his individual plaudits would pale in comparison to winning his first trophy as a manager against Ross County this weekend.
He said: “It will be the biggest for me because it’s the first time I have been to a cup final as a manager. I get more satisfaction out of what I will hopefully achieve in management.
“This would top anything I did as a player. Being in charge of a group of players seems more satisfying than any individual accolade or medal. This would make me more proud.
“Your first memory is the one that sticks in your mind, so hopefully when I look back when I am an old fogie, this will rank up there with the best of them.
“I hope to be talking about quite a few of them [trophies] but your first one is always special. Hopefully Sunday turns out to be a special day for everyone.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs last night revealed he has all-but picked his team for the showpiece – however, he will keep his players sweating until Sunday.
And he hopes the nervous energy will drive his players on during their Spanish training camp, which began in earnest with an afternoon session in the heat of the Costa del Sol yesterday.
He added: “It is pretty clear what I am going to go with, unless something changes between now and the day of the game. I know more or less what I am going to go with.
“I have not told the players yet and I won’t tell them until cup final day. I am a bit of an old traditionalist that way and cup finals, the build up and naming the team on the day of the game are part of that for me.
“The players will feel that little bit of nervousness about whether they are going to play or not. Then there will be the excitement once the team is named.
“If people knew my team today would it make a huge difference come Sunday? Not a lot. I think both managers have a decent idea on what our respective teams are going to be anyway. It is all about who performs the best on Sunday.”