BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Hibernian midfielder Fraser Fyvie went from the heady high of lifting the FA Cup to the devastating low of relegation from the Barclay’s Premier League as a Wigan Athletic player.
He is determined to experience the opposite journey this season as Hibs attempt to bounce back from an agonising end to their league campaign by lifting the Scottish Cup and becoming Easter Road icons.
Fyvie was part of the match-day squad when Wigan defeated Manchester City at Wembley in 2013, albeit he failed to make it onto the pitch as the Latics claimed the old trophy for the first time in their history.
The brief celebrations were soured, however, when they exited the top-flight just three days later following a 4-1 defeat against Arsenal.
To recover from last-minute defeats in the League Cup final to Ross County and the Championship playoffs against Falkirk by ending Hibs’ 114-year wait for Scottish Cup glory would represent another roller-coaster finale to a campaign for Fyvie.
“We actually won the FA Cup and then got relegated on the Tuesday,” recalled the 23-year-old. “That wasn’t very nice. That FA Cup experience was fantastic, a great day and a great occasion.
“Everybody thought Man City were just going to turn up and win the game. But the manager [Roberto Martinez] came up with a strategy on the day that was unbelievable and it worked to a tee.
“It was a great day and something I would love to experience again on Saturday.
“The games were Saturday-Tuesday so we went straight back on the bus and then we went to the Emirates and lost to Arsenal . . . that wasn’t such a nice day. It probably took the edge off winning [the FA Cup] a little bit. Being relegated is a horrible thing.
“We went from the ultimate high to such a low and it would be nice to do it the other way around here.”
Fyvie is reluctant to suggest a Scottish Cup win would make up for all of the disappointments endured by a Hibs side whose prime objective this season was to escape the Championship.
Nevertheless, given the club’s hate-hate relationship with the competition since 1902, victory over Rangers would ensure legendary status for Alan Stubbs’ charges.
It would also allow the Hibs’ players – battered by the volume of games and bruised by the dramatic nature of recent high-profile defeats – to approach their summer holidays with a sense of closure and satisfaction.
“I don’t know if winning this weekend would make up for what has happened,” Fyvie admitted. “But it would definitely give us something to enjoy and have a nice time with our families.
“You can show the medal and pictures to your kids if we are able to win it. But we have to go there and do it first.
“Rangers are a good side, there’s no doubt about that. They have been fantastic this season, their style is great, but we’ll be looking to stop them on Saturday. We probably are underdogs but hopefully we can cause an upset.”
With Rangers boasting three victories to Hibs’ two in the meetings between the sides this season, Saturday’s showpiece in perfectly poised for another tight, and feisty, encounter.
Fyvie received a two-game ban for feigning being head-butted by Rangers midfielder during Hibs’ 4-2 defeat at Ibrox on December 28, arguably the most incendiary contest between the rivals this term.
“There will be a bit of toe-to-toe,” Fyvie added. “The games against each other this season have been great. There’s been a bit of an edge to it. They’re fantastic to play in and I’m looking forward to it.
“I spoke to him [Halliday] after the last game at Easter Road. There is not a problem between me and Andy. I said what I needed to say to him. He’s a good lad and I’ll be looking forward to playing against him on Saturday.”
FYVIE TIPS MARTINEZ FOR CELTIC
Roberto Martinez would represent a “fantastic” coup for Celtic if the Hoops could tempt the Spaniard back north of the border, according to his former charge Fraser Fyvie.
Former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is currently leading the betting for the Parkhead post, while it has been reported that Malky Mackay is also firmly in the running.
With Celtic’s largest individual shareholder Dermot Desmond yesterday indicating that more than six candidates have been interviewed, the hunt for Ronny Deila’s replacement is gathering pace.
And Martinez, whose departure from Everton was confirmed earlier this month, is among the managers linked with the vacancy.
Fyvie, who played under Martinez at Wigan, where the former Motherwell midfielder guided the Latics to FA Cup glory in 2013, believes his old boss would be a smash hit with the Hoops.
“He’s a fantastic manager,” said the Hibernian star. “There is an aura about him and his style of play. The Wigan players at that time loved him. Shaun Maloney, Gary Caldwell and James McCarthy, especially. He took McCarthy to Everton and what a great player he has become.
“If Celtic could get him, it would be fantastic. He’s different class to work with. His training and everything about him is superb. I couldn’t thank him more for the experience I had with him at the time.
“If he did get the Celtic job it would be fantastic for him and there’s no doubt he would give youth a chance as well, he believes in that – it is part of his philosophy.”