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Hanlon: We've learned our lesson

Paul Hanlon claims Hibernian's first-half display against Falkirk in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup saved their season.

Last Updated: 22/05/13 at 16:51 Post Comment

Hibernian: Will face Celtic in Scottish Cup final

Hibernian: Will face Celtic in Scottish Cup final

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Pat Fenlon's side took on the Bairns at Hampden last month following a miserable run that had seen them win just once in the league since new year.

Things then went from bad to worse when the Irn-Bru First Division outfit stormed into a three-goal lead at the interval while striker Lyle Taylor blew a chance to make it four.

That embarrassing scoreline prompted an angry exchange of words between the Easter Road players during the break.

But it had the desired effect as Hibs stormed back to seal a 4-3 win after extra-time.

The Leith side have not lost since that game having ended the Clydesdale Bank Premier League season with draws against Aberdeen and St Mirren before successive victories over Hearts, Kilmarnock and Dundee.

And as Hanlon prepares for Sunday's final showdown with Celtic, he claimed the home truths shared in Mount Florida are the reason why.

He said: "The Falkirk game was the turning point. The first half was really, really bad and that hit home to folk that it just wasn't acceptable.

"We really just pushed on from there and it was great the way we came back. It was that determination that got us back to this cup final.

"Words were spoken at half-time against Falkirk and a few folk had a rant. That was always going to happen because those things had to be said. We were terrible.

"But there are leaders in the dressing room as well as the manager and what was said worked."

Hanlon was part of the side humiliated in last year's final by their city rivals.

The Hearts support have not failed to remind their neighbours of the 5-1 derby disaster every time they have met this season.

But former Scotland Under-21 defender Hanlon insists this season's side are made of sterner stuff.

"The team is a lot stronger mentally this year," he declared. "When we have gone a goal down in games, we have not folded. We have stayed in games and that has meant we've been able to come back and get a point or even win games.

"In the Falkirk game we went three down and came back to win. That proves our mental strength is tougher and that's a massive thing to have.

"If you are going to go to Hampden and beat Celtic, that is a vital asset to have.

"Celtic are going to try and start the game well and if they do get an early goal, we can't let it go the way it did against Falkirk because against Celtic, there will be no way back."

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e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

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e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

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