HIBS fans have hit out at Scottish Cup victory parade plans after it emerged the winners’ bus will not travel down Leith Walk.
Should the Easter Road side triumph over Celtic at Hampden on Sunday, Pat Fenlon’s side will parade the cup the following evening from the City Chambers over North Bridge, down Regent Road and Easter Road to the stadium.
Supporters said the decision to bypass Leith Walk and Duke Street was “unbelievable”, with many fans suggesting the team’s traditional power base of Leith should also be visited.
Hibs’ last cup win in the CIS Cup final against Kilmarnock in 2007 saw thousands throng Leith Walk to welcome home their heroes. The much-shorter parade route has been devised due to safety concerns by club officials in negotiation with police and council officials.
It is understood that the rush of supporters going from Leith Walk to Easter Road poses too great a risk of crushing. During the victory parade in 2007, fans spoke of their concerns the crowds would be crushed.
Lifelong supporter, Mark O’Hare, 46, from Craigentinny said: “It beggars belief that a Hibs cup parade would not even enter Leith. It’s ridiculous.
“Surely they could marshal it right that they could allow the cup, if we win it, to be brought back to Leith. It’s unbelievable to think that it won’t. It’s like telling Hearts that they couldn’t parade it through Gorgie due to health and safety.
“The businesses along Leith Walk have suffered enough in recent years thanks to the council and this would be a bumper day for them.”
One such Leith Walk business owner is Richard Currie, of renowned Hibs haunt the Harp and Castle pub.
He said: “It’s a shockingly bad decision. The bus won’t even come into Leith. Leith Walk will be like a ghost town for it. I can understand that there might be safety concerns after the parade in 2007 but that was six years ago. Surely they should have come up with a solution by now.”
If successful, parade proceedings will kick-off on Monday evening with a civic reception in the City Chambers at 7pm, before the side boards an open-topped bus and begins a route down the High Street and North Bridge. At Waterloo Place the procession will turn on to Regent Road, down Easter Road, and right on to Albion Road before disembarking at the stadium for 7.45pm.
A city council spokesman said: “The parade route is as per the club’s request, which was made following advice from the police and ourselves.”
A club spokesman said: “The chosen route was decided on safety grounds. If the club proves to be successful on Sunday, then we will aim to be part of the Leith Festival celebrations in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Supporters have been urged to choose between either attending the 20,000-capacity stadium for free or lining the route, as the Easter Road turnstiles will shut at 7.30pm to avoid the potential for any crush from fans clamouring to get in.