Thursday 4th May 2017

SAM STANTON ended last season watching his boyhood heroes, and parent club, celebrating with a trophy.

He was at Hampden to watch David Gray’s injury time header secure Hibernian’s 3-2 victory over Rangers in the William Hill Scottish Cup final.

Thousands of other Hibs fans were too – and many of them will be at Easter Road on Saturday for another party, when they receive the Championship trophy.

But Sam won’t be one of them this time.

And he doesn’t mind one bit.

Because as an on-loan Dumbarton player, he has the chance to put right what happened to him on the playing side last season.

He was with Livingston when they were relegated through the play-offs. This time around, his Sons side needs just a draw at home to Falkirk on Saturday for the season to end in success.

Even then, he’s spending the week training with a group of people who can help. If Hibs defeat St Mirren ahead of their title festivities, that’s it.

Similarly, if Raith Rovers fail to beat Ayr United and overturn a 10-goal difference on Sons, it’s job done whatever happens at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium.

However, Sam doesn’t want to be relying on anybody else, parent club or otherwise. He’s confident Dumbarton can finish the task themselves.

He said: “It’ll be a bit strange for me, but I’ve been a Dumbarton player all year and it’s normal for me to be missing Hibs games, whatever happens.

“Obviously I’d have liked to have seen the trophy presentation as a supporter, but Dumbarton is who I’m playing for and I’d rather be playing than watching.

“I was at Hampden for the cup final last year, sitting with the squad, so that was nice last year to be able to celebrate that.

“But Saturday will be all about Dumbarton for me. I’m not going back to Edinburgh after the game – I’m going to the Sons Supporters Trust awards night and I’m looking forward to that.

“It is a big game for Hibs, being presented with the trophy afterwards. They’ll want to win and they’re always confident they can win against whoever they play. I’m confident they can help us out.

“It’s nice for us to go into it knowing that it’s all in our hands. It would take something extraordinary for us to be in the play-offs, but hopefully we can still get the result.

“It was horrible to experience the play-offs and relegation with Livingston last season and I don’t want that to happen again. I’m confident we can get at least a draw against Falkirk, which would be enough for us.

“We’ve already surprised a lot of people this year and can do it on Saturday as well.”

Sam’s loan spell with Dumbarton will finish at the end of the season, and as far as he is aware, he will have a chance to get into Hibs’ plans for their return to the Premiership.

He added: “I’ve still got a year left at Hibs, so as far as I know I’ll be back with them next season.

“I’m not aware of anything happening in that respect.”

Andy Galloway

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