Scottish Cup: Hibernian captain James McPake injury a blow

Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon

Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon admits losing captain James McPake to injury is a blow to their Scottish Cup hopes.

The Easter Road side face Celtic in Sunday's Hampden final, their second successive Scottish Cup final appearance.

However, they will do so without their talismanic captain, who missed the last three league matches of the season with a back injury.

"James is not going to make it. It's unfortunate for him," said Fenlon.

"It's a big blow. Losing players and losing your captain is a big blow, but we've got players there. We will just have to get on with it."

The Edinburgh club also took to Twitter to dispel rumours that striker Leigh Griffiths, who has scored 28 goals this season, was doubtful with a calf injury.

"Everybody is fit and available for selection for Sunday apart from James McPake," said a tweet on the club's official account.

Central defender McPake has been taking painkilling injections in an attempt to be fit to play, but the 28-year-old has run out of time to prove his fitness.

"In the position he is playing in, it's too much of a risk for everybody - for James and for us as well," said Fenlon. "I think it was wise to make the decision early.

"He hasn't done enough, training-wise. We were trying to give him a chance to get himself right, but it was clear yesterday and today that that's not going to happen.

However, Fenlon insisted that McPake's withdrawal was as much a personal blow for the player as for the team.

"It's more of a blow for James," he said. "It's hard for him to take, to miss the Cup final.

"We've got to make sure that we give him a chance to enjoy it after if we can."

The Irishman also insisted that last year's crushing defeat by rivals Hearts in the Scottish Cup final would have no bearing on this year's encounter.

"It's a completely different game and a completely different squad," he said.

"I think we've just got to look forward to this one and go and embrace it and go and play."

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