BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
MARVIN Bartley insists he was so unconcerned by finding out Hibernian’s Scottish Cup final opponents that he tuned in to Antiques Roadshow instead of watching Sunday’s Old Firm derby.
The combative midfielder claimed his fondness for the BBC show dates back to his childhood after revealing he opted for the placid pace of the collectors’ programme rather than Hampden’s harum-scarum semi-final between Rangers and Celtic.
Asked if he had harboured a preference over who Hibs would face in the cup final, the laid-back Bartley said: “No. To be honest, I didn’t even watch it. I watched the Antiques Roadshow. That’s where I was at in my life!
“The lads have hammered me. I didn’t even watch the game and then I went into the (online) group-chat and the lads said ‘we’ve got Rangers’.
“I thought ‘oh’ – and then I put Football Manager on and off I went. It is what it is.
“My mum used to force me to watch Antiques Roadshow but now I’m sitting at home at 29 wondering what I’m doing with my life that I’m putting it on myself!”
Easter Road supporters will be hopeful Bartley is back up to speed on the pitch tonight when Hibs host Rangers in the league in a dress rehearsal of their cup final encounter on May 21.
The former Bournemouth, Burnley and Leyton Orient player is adamant the final league meeting of the teams will have no bearing on their eagerly-awaited Hampden date.
Rather, Bartley, who has expressed hope that he could earn an international call-up from Jamaica, has acknowledged the importance of the match for Hibs as they eye a challenge to Falkirk in second place in the league table with a six-point deficit and games running out.
But he is hopeful that, with less to play for, Rangers could take their eye off the ball this evening as Alan Stubbs’ team seek just a second league victory in nine outings.
He added: “Every game’s massive now between now and the end of the season – and you obviously have to fit the cup final into that as well. It should be a good run-in.
“If we finish third we have more games than if we finish second, so we have to deal with it as it comes, really.
“We need to win this game, it’s that simple, really. We’ve put ourselves into this position where we have to win it and that’s what we need to go and do.
“Nothing else is good enough.”