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Hibernian boss Shaun Maloney not taking Cove Rangers lightly ahead of cup clash

Celtic v Hibernian – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Shaun Maloney has no plans to make wholesale changes to his Hibernian side for Thursday’s Scottish Cup fourth-round match at home to in-form Cove Rangers.

The Easter Road manager is adamant the League One leaders, who are on a 15-game unbeaten run and have won each of their last nine matches, cannot be treated lightly.

As a result, he intends to field his strongest available line-up and ensure his players approach the game in the same way they prepared for Monday night’s trip to Celtic.

He told STV: “The mindset is very similar [to the Celtic game]. Cove are on a really good run of form and they’ve got very good players, really technical players.

“We’ll have to be at our best and we’re going to go really strong because we have to win the game.

“The big part is how we compete immediately. We have to respect Cove and if that isn’t the case then that’s when things become very difficult. We have to start at that point and show our talent in the right areas.”

New Norwegian striker Elias Melkersen is unlikely to be available to make his debut as Hibs are still awaiting his work permit, but on-loan Celtic midfielder Ewan Henderson could make his first appearance after being unable to face his parent club on Monday.

Kyle Magennis is not fit enough to return from injury, while Ryan Porteous and Paul McGinn are still suspended.

Hibs last won the Scottish Cup in 2016, but Maloney insists his sole focus at present is ensuring they get past the first hurdle against Paul Hartley’s Cove.

He said: “I think we have to give ourselves the opportunity to try and win the cup.

“I think once you get to the semi-final stages that’s when you give yourself an opportunity and I think we’re a long way from that.

“Being in the first round for us, and considering the opponent, I think looking any further isn’t worthwhile. This game is going to be difficult and we have to be at our best and compete from the first whistle to give ourselves the best chance to win.

“We need to treat this game the same way we did Celtic and every league game. The importance and the analysis that we have will be the same. I’m looking forward to it.”

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