Pat Fenlon believes his team owe their supporters a place in the Scottish Cup final for a season which has seen them languish towards the foot of the SPL table.
Hibernian face Aberdeen at Hampden on Saturday in the semi finals, offering the Easter Road men a welcome respite from their battle with relegation.
Fenlon also knows the expectations of the fans, who have never seen their team lift the trophy. Hibs last success in the competition came in 1902.
The Hibs manager said: “I do understand what it means and the expectations that come with it.
“I think important thing with semi finals is that you relax and don’t play the game before the actual game. We’ve seen that before with getting lads into the big stadiums with the national stadium players who haven’t been there before can tend to struggle.
“We need make sure our boys play the game at 12.15pm on Saturday and not before that.
“We treat it as a big occasion but also as a football match that we want to win and not anything else.”
The prospect of an all-Edinburgh final is on the horizon, with Hearts facing Celtic in the second semi final 24 hours after. Fenlon said he hopes to meet their derby rivals in May, but will concentrate on the task in hand first.
Fenlon said: “I’m not too bothered about the other side, just if we can get there then hopefully they can get there too and we’ll worry about that then.
“It is important that we get to the final ourselves. We owe our supporters for a poor season and it’s important we give them something to smile about at the end of it I think.
“Without setting the world on fire, we’ve made slow progress. To begin with we struggled but I think since the fifth or sixth game we’ve done alright and I think we’re improving slowly and that’s important we’re making some progress.
“If we can stay in the league, which is the main goal, and get to a cup final then it makes the season look a lot better than it probably is.”
The Hibernian fans will travel to Glasgow in numbers hoping to see the club earn themselves another crack at the elusive silverware, and while Fenlon feels removed the pressure of 110 years without the famous trophy, he said he does understand how much it means to the supporters.
He added: “The expectations are good because I haven’t been steeped in that tradition and been asked about it every year when it comes to the Scottish Cup.
“It’s my first go at it with Hibs and we’ve got to a semi final so we’ve done okay so far.
“I know the supporters have that expectation, but they’re following the club through thick and thin, day-in and day-out over years and years so it’s obviously a big question on their minds.”
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