FORMER Hibernian hero Steven Whittaker admits he was desperate to bring the curtain down on his Easter Road career by lifting the Scottish Cup.
The 35-year-old was released by the capital club alongside Adam Bogdan and Vykintas Slivka last month, while loan stars Marc McNulty, Jason Naismith and Stephane Omeonga also departed.
It was the end of an era for the Scotland internationalist, who started his career with Hibs and went on to rack up 239 appearances over two spells in Leith.
While Whittaker accepts that all clubs must make tough calls as the financial implications of the Covid-19 crisis hit home, he is gutted that he will not get the opportunity to become a Hampden hero – again.
The ex-Rangers and Norwich man was part of the side which lifted the CIS Cup in 2007 by hammering Kilmarnock 5-1 and he was desperate for another crack at silverware, with the Hibees already in the Scottish Cup semi-final against city rivals Hearts.
The Scottish FA have vowed that competition will be played to a finish – Celtic face Aberdeen in the other last-four tie – however, Whittaker will be watching on as a fan.
He said: “Initially, everything was up in the air. Where would we finish in the league? Could we end the season and push for Europe? Will we play that semi-final and maybe final?
“These were all things we were looking forward to.
“It’s a shame myself and a number of the other boys will miss out on the opportunity to tick those boxes and have a strong end to the season. Because we really believed we would have.
“The chance to reach a cup final and maybe get a medal would have been something – especially at this stage in my career – I would have loved to be a part of.
“To win another medal for Hibs would have been one to really savour.
“But I’ll be cheering on the boys whenever that game does go ahead. This club has played a huge part in my career and I want to see them doing well and playing at Hampden again.”