NICK COLGAN reckons Hibs’ long wait for Scottish Cup glory could have ended 11 years ago if Russell Latapy hadn’t gone for a boozy night out.
Russell Latapy chose to have a big night out with his Trinidad and Tobago pal Dwight Yorke in Edinburgh just days before the 2001 Scottish Cup Final against Celtic .
That was the last straw for Easter Road boss Alex McLeish who dumped the midfield maestro from his Hampden squad.
A Henrik Larsson double sealed a 3-0 victory for the Hoops and former Hibs keeper Colgan said: “The controversy with Russell leading up to the game didn’t really help our cause when he was left out for disciplinary reasons.
“But the manager made the decision that he would not be involved in the final and that one man isn’t bigger than any club.
“Did we miss him on the day? Possibly. Would we have won the Cup with him? We will never know.
“But Alex McLeish made the decision and we all respected him as a man and a manager.
“We had a pretty decent team when we lost to Celtic, with the likes of Franck Sauzee, Mixu Paatelainen, Marc Libbra, Mathias Jack and Ian Murray, who is coming back to Hampden for another shot. I’d love to see him with his hands on the trophy.
“The Celtic team we played was outstanding – Larsson, Moravcik, Lambert, Lennon, Sutton and McNamara. It was a big, strong physical team.”
Ex-Republic of Ireland international Colgan, now at Huddersfield, is praying the current team can beat city rivals Hearts and lift the trophy for the first time since 1902.
He said: “I can’t get up to Scotland for the game but I will be watching it on TV at home with my Hibs shirt on.
“Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to pick up abeer and salute a Hibs Scottish Cup win.”
Despite being Hibs through and through, Colgan admits he was delighted whenHearts beat Celtic in the semi-finals.
He said: “It was the first time in my career I wanted Hearts to win a game. I wouldn’t say I was cheering for them but I just thought Hibs v Hearts would be a wonderful final.
“The Hearts fans constantly remind you it’s been so long since Hibs won the Cup and sing about it.
“I don’t care if it’s the worst game in the world as long as Hibs pick up the trophy.
“The players have just got to go out there, be brave and do good things with the ball.”