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Football | Europe

Scott Brown © Gallo Images

Celtic wary of Scottish Cup let down



Celtic captain Scott Brown admits failure to defeat Hibernian in Sunday's Scottish Cup final would take the shine off what has been a successful season for the club.

The Parkhead side won the Scottish Premier League for the second successive season while also putting in some impressive performances in Europe which saw them reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Hoops now have the chance to clinch their first domestic double since 2007 and Scottish international Brown knows victory against his former side could be the difference between a great and a good season.

"It would take the gloss off our season if we lost on Sunday," the midfielder said. "No-one likes to go to Hampden and lose.

"We need to pretty much win every game for the Celtic fans to be happy. So it is a huge game for ourselves as well as Hibs. For us to end up with the double would show just how good our season has really been.

"Hibs sold out their tickets for the final as quickly as ours. It is a great occasion for both sets of fans. It's huge for us as a team and we need to try and take control from the first minute."

Celtic defender Mikel Lustig could be set to feature at the national stadium with Welsh international Adam Matthews struggling to make it through injury.

The Swedish international says he is desperate to finish the season with another winner's medal but admits he feels the weight of expectation from the club's supporters.

"The pressure is on us to do the double," Lustig said. "But that's football, and Hibs will want to win too. It will be tough but we are the favourites.

"It would mean a lot to finish the season with a winner's medal. We all want to go on our holidays as a winner so it is an important game.

"The mood in the camp is good. Our two last games we played well and the last game against Dundee United, in the first-half especially was really good, so we're happy.

"One of our goals was to do well in Europe, and we did that. Another was to win the league, and we did that too, so our season has already been great. Winning the double, though, would be even better."

The Glasgow side will be missing central midfielders Victor Wanyama and Beram Kayal through suspension, but winger James Forrest has declared himself fit.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is also free to take his place in the dugout after being handed a suspended one-match ban by the SFA on Thursday for entering the "playing zone" during April's defeat by Motherwell.

Hibernian are looking to end their Scottish Cup hoodoo.

Pat Fenlon's side, who came back from 3-0 down against Falkirk in the semifinal to eventually triumph 4-3, haven't won the Scottish Cup since 1902.

Hibs captain James McPake, who is one of the few survivors from the side that were thrashed 5-1 by rivals Hearts in last year's final, is determined to end that terrible run.

"I don't feel any baggage going into this game after last season. We want to win the Cup for the fans, not just for last year, but for the 111 years they have been without it," the defender, who is winning his race to prove his fitness for the final, said.

"It has been far too long. The fans could, and probably should, have deserted us because of that showing in the final last year.

"But thankfully they have seen the improvements and hopefully they'll continue to see them."

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