Hibs defender Darren McGregor insists the newly crowned Championship winners go into today’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen without a care in the world.
But the former Rangers centre-half admits that does not mean they are not desperate to retain the trophy.
The Leith side travel to Hampden today without any stresses over league football after they clinched the title last weekend.
And after ending 114-years of cup agony in last May’s unforgettable victory over Rangers, the players are also no longer weighed down by the crippling pressure of trying to end their hoodoo in the competition.
Throw into the mix that the Dons are favourites in this afternoon’s televised encounter, McGregor insists Neil Lennon’s side take on the Pittodrie club with a carefree attitude.
He said: “All the chat and all the pressure is honestly on them.
“We set out at the start of the season and the mandate was to win the league – anything else was a bonus.
“Now that apprehension is away and we’re heading into this game confident, with clear minds.
“If we go and just give a good account of ourselves, the fans will be happy because we’ve won the league and reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup.
“If we do manage to win, it’s the cherry on top of the cake, another Scottish Cup final – which the Hibs fans have been spoiled with.
“This time last year, we were coming off the back of a few tough results, including the League Cup final defeat to Ross County.
“We had all our eggs in one basket, everything riding on the Scottish Cup as a saving grace.
“So the anxiety and apprehension going into that game was huge because we knew it all came down to that.
“But this time we go into it knowing we’ve won the league, knowing we’ve given a good account of ourselves to reach the last four as holders.
“So, if it ends on Saturday, we’ve done well but I’m confident it won’t end on Saturday.
“The determination and the mindset is still there. We are going into this game to win, there is no doubt about it.”
McGregor, meanwhile, admits he would love to win the cup for a second time and enjoy the lap of honour that they were denied last year when their own fans invaded the pitch and clashed with Rangers supporters.
He added: “It would be good, that was the one thing that a lot of the boys were upset about.
“I was actually lucky because my daughter was sitting a couple of rows down from me so Erin managed to shimmy her down.
“I managed to grab her and I got her with the cup. It would be great do that, but that’s a long way off.
“There is still a massive obstacle to get over in Aberdeen. if we did get by them, it would definitely be in the back of the mind.”
McGregor, meanwhile, insists striker Jason Cummings’ hilarious training ground wrestling antics with Grado earlier this week symbolised the relief of taking the chequered flag in the Championship.
He added: “I missed it because I was in the physio room, which I was disappointed about. Hopefully there’s a rematch.
“That shows the spirit there but it’s difficult, especially when you’re pushing for the league.
“I’d like to say it was always like that, but there are times when you come in and there is an apprehension.
“You just want to get over the line. That maybe typified the release.
“The gaffer wants that. He says that from here on in, we should be enjoying ourselves.
“When it is time to work, you work. Over and above that, you just relax and try to enjoy yourself as much as you can because I think that’s when the best results happen.”