Hibernian V St Johnstone at Tynecastle Stadium : Match Preview

29 January 2016
Hibernian V St Johnstone - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Hibernian's John McGinn hoping to recreate 2013 cup semi-final heroics

Hibernian midfielder John McGinn still takes confidence from his League Cup semi-final display against Celtic as he prepares to meet St Johnstone at the same stage.

An 18-year-old McGinn stole the show in central midfield at Hampden in 2013 against Celtic's trio of Scott Brown, Victor Wanyama and Joe Ledley as St Mirren reached the final with a 3-2 win.

That afternoon at Hampden helped shape McGinn's future and he will draw upon the memory when Hibs take on St Johnstone at Tynecastle in the last four on Saturday.

"It was one of my first games for St Mirren and it was a massive occasion for myself," McGinn said.

"Thankfully that day I managed to deal with it okay and played well. If I can deal with the occasion on Saturday and play as well, then I'll be delighted.

"When I was standing in the tunnel, lining up against Wanyama and Ledley, I was a bit nervous but after the first five minutes I managed to settle in and the experienced guys round about me helped me settle in. We have that in the dressing room as well so I'm sure it won't be a problem.

"It could have been make or break in a way. I could have had a nightmare. There were 40,000 there that day and it was a big occasion for me. It was whether I could handle that, and thankfully I did.

"It was a massive confidence boost for me for the rest of that season. Even now I still look back on it and know inside that I'm capable of putting in performances like that. Hopefully I can do that on Saturday."

Kevin Thomson is set to come into the Hibernian squad after signing 24 hours before last weekend's win over St Mirren, but Dominique Malonga drops out after moving to Italy in midweek.

Dan Carmichael played 90 minutes for the under-20s in midweek following a groin lay-off but is unlikely to feature, while Farid El Alagui is still struggling to regain fitness and long-term absentee Daniel Handling (knee) remains out.

St Johnstone captain Dave Mackay will brush off a hip complaint to play, but midfielders Murray Davidson (hip) and Chris Millar (hamstring) are rated 50-50.

Right-back Darnell Fisher returns to the squad after sitting out the defeat against parent club Celtic.

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright is confident his side will handle the occasion given their big-game experience.

Saints were beaten 4-0 by Aberdeen at the same stage and same venue, Tynecastle, two years ago.

But they quickly gained their revenge in the William Hill Scottish Cup later that season, coming from behind to beat the Dons 2-1 at Ibrox, and took a grip of the final before sealing a 2-0 win over Dundee United.

With some impressive away results in Europe during Wright's tenure, including victory over Rosenborg, as well as an impressive 3-1 victory over in-form Rangers in the third round, St Johnstone have shown they can rise to the occasion.

"We've experienced the good and the bad in semi-finals," Wright said. "The fact we have experienced two semis and a final is something we can draw on.

"We had a defeat in one semi-final and we used that to make sure we weren't going to lose another one. So we have experienced the highs and lows.

"The first game was slightly different. We had a few people missing that day and it didn't really help us. We did lose a very early goal. We got caught on the counter-attack, we were a wee bit gung-ho that day. They scored at least three goals on the counter-attack.

"We did learn from it because in the next semi-final we were able to turn that result around.

"But, psychologically, winning the second Aberdeen game was the biggest thing for the squad and we are over it. Hopefully we can get another good performance and get to another final.

"We have a good team and a good squad, experienced players who hopefully on the day can handle the situation."

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