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Paul Hanlon hopes to complete cup set with Hibernian

Rangers v Hibernian – Premier Sports Cup – Semi-Final – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Captain Paul Hanlon set his sights on a rare Hibernian double after Sunday’s 3-1 Premier Sports Cup semi-final win over Rangers at Hampden Park.

A Martin Boyle hat-trick helped Jack Ross’ side to an ultimately comfortable win over the Scottish champions who had new boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst watching from the stand before he takes over on Monday.

Lewis Stevenson is the only Hibs player to have won both the Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Cup, doing so in 2007 and 2016 respectively.

Now 31-year-old Hanlon, who was part of the Hibs side who triumphed in the Scottish Cup final against Rangers five years ago, wants to join him when the Easter Road side face Celtic in December’s final.

He said: “In the year we won the Scottish Cup I missed out on the League Cup final, we got beat in that game.

“I would be lying if I said it wasn’t something I thought about, in terms of trying to win both of the trophies and now we’re obviously one step closer, one game to go, and I am really excited for it.

“I absolutely loved every second of Sunday. Obviously we put ourselves in a great position with our first-half performance. I was over the moon and delighted to celebrate with our fans at the end.

“We had a big semi-final win (over Dundee United) last year that got us into the Scottish Cup final and there was no one here to celebrate with, so it was a really special moment.

“It was great for all the fans who were there and great for a lot of the players who maybe haven’t sampled that sort of thing before.

“It was a really good moment. We are all buzzing.”

After picking up a booking from Kevin Clancy for a foul on Joe Aribo within seconds of the kick-off, Hanlon composed himself to turn in a terrific performance.

Straight after Boyle slammed in his third from the spot in the 38th minute Scott Arfield pulled a goal back for Rangers but Hibs stood firm.

Hanlon, who recently signed a new deal which keeps him at Easter Road until 2024, said: “I got booked in 10 seconds was it? 14? That’s alright then!

“I don’t know if it focused me a bit more in terms of I had to be right at it or I probably wouldn’t see out the game.

“I really enjoyed it, the three goals kind of helped a bit and gave us that grit and determination to hold on to what we had because we knew the prize at stake.

“I wouldn’t say we were comfortable at any stage because they have got a lot of quality in their team but it just seemed that we were all on the same page, we all knew that everyone had to fight for each other and everyone was giving all they had so if the result didn’t go our way it wouldn’t be through lack of trying or anything like that.

“We showed a lot of character because we conceded so quickly after scoring the third goal it could have really made it difficult.

“They had a few chances and they are a good side and they do that against pretty much everyone so we rode out the difficult moments and showed quality when we needed to. I thought we saw out the game pretty professionally.”