SCOTTISH CUP

Hampden Park, Scotland

Attendance: 22410

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Hibernian

  • Alex Harris 51'
  • Leigh Griffiths 78'
  • Eoin Doyle 83'
  • Leigh Griffiths 115'

4 - 3

FT

Falkirk

  • Craig Sibbald 6'
  • Jay Fulton 18'
  • Blair Alston 30'

Holt relishing Hampden return

New Falkirk boss Gary Holt returns to the place where his playing career at club level in Scotland ended abruptly when he takes the Bairns to Hampden for their William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Hibernian on Saturday.

When Holt took to the pitch at the national stadium for Kilmarnock's League Cup final against Celtic in March 18 2001, little did he know that he was playing his last game for the Ayrshire club.

After the 3-0 defeat he was told in the dressing room by then Killie manager Bobby Williamson that a deal had been done to sell him to Norwich and two weeks later he made his debut for the Canaries.

Holt's career kept him down south and he played for Nottingham Forest, Wycombe, and Lowestoft, while winning 10 caps for Scotland, before returning to Norwich as assistant Academy manager in 2010.

Appointed as successor to Steven Pressley, who left Falkirk last month for Coventry, the 40-year-old took charge in his first senior post officially on Monday and will makes his debut at the national stadium knowing that the home of Scottish football has the capacity to throw up surprises on and off the field.

``My last game at Kilmarnock was the League Cup final defeat against Celtic - but I had no idea whatsoever that was going to be the case,'' he told Press Association Sport.

``After the game Bobby pulled me aside and told me that the deal was done - see you later. You will meet Norwich tomorrow.

``I thought okay, no problem, I will do as I'm told but to be fair I've got to thank him for that, I went on to have a great career down south which propelled me into where I am now.

``I can't wait for the game. When you are at the national stadium, when you have a good crowd behind you and it's live on television, you just want to impress.

``You are a big kid in a sweetie shop, you want to enjoy it and showcase your talents.

``I was licking my wounds after losing 3-0 but it was still a great occasion.''

One thing that did not change in the period Holt was working in England is Hibs' Scottish Cup record.

The Easter Road club have gone 111 years since winning the trophy, which is just one reason he believes Pat Fenlon's men will be feeling the heat against the Irn-Bru First Division club.

``The pressure is on them, there is no doubt about that,'' said Holt, who won the Scottish Cup with Killie in 1997 when, ironically, they beat Falkirk 1-0 in the Ibrox final.

``We are the underdogs. We are the First Division club and they are in the SPL, and they have good players.

``But we have to focus on what we are going to do.''

Striker Lewis Small is Falkirk's only absentee due to a dislocated shoulder, with Hibs also at full strength but for suspended winger Matt Done.

Goalkeeper Ben Williams insists he is ready to be Hibernian's hero if the semi-final goes all the way to penalties.

The 30-year-old English stopper has saved six of the nine spot-kicks he has faced since moving to Easter Road last summer.

Now he is confident he can extend that incredible record should Hibs fail to see off the Bairns in open play at Hampden.

Williams told Press Association Sport: ``If we go to penalties, people will be expecting me to save five out of five. So that type of record brings its own pressure.

``As a goalkeeper, penalties are your time to shine. Players are expected to score but if you save a couple then it's fantastic.

``I've saved six out of nine this season. But my record of late hasn't been as good, I've let in my last two. But I back myself in these situations to do well and make saves.

``I will study as much as I can. Not just the top scorer, but all the players in the team. I also look into patterns and the psychology of it. But sometimes it can just come down to guess work.``

To comment, you must be a registered user. Please Sign In or Register