In the final few moments before a crucial game, footballers face a tense wait as they psyche themselves up for the 90 minutes of battle ahead.
Now Hibs are to have some extra help achieving a winning frame of mind – with a wall of support to inspire players set to be unveiled at Easter Road.
The Hibernian Tunnel plan will see the drab walls of the current passage leading from the dressing room transformed in to a motivational mosaic featuring thousands of messages of support from fans. And we can reveal the team will also be inspired by the achievements of the Famous Five, as the names of Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull and Ormond are to inscribed on the steps leading up to the pitch.
Russell Smith, the club’s head of commercial, said they have been swamped with requests for information about the Team Talks plaques.
He added: “The response we have had has been unbelievable. Hundreds of people had signed up within the first two hours of the news getting out, they all want to do their bit to motivate the team. We’ve never heard of a football club doing this before, we pride ourselves on our innovation.
“The tunnel is just breeze block at the moment, but this will give people the opportunity to give the players a boost in the final monuments before the walk on to the pitch.”
New manager Terry Butcher is right behind the tunnel vision – an idea which draws inspiration from the “This is Anfield” sign generations of Liverpool players have touched for luck. Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, 26, has also used fans’ messages as motivation, having them printed on his tennis bag.
Fans will be able to submit their own personalised words of encouragement, personalised with their own name, for a payment of £50.
The words will be added to aluminium panels covering the entire wall space from both the home and away dressing rooms leading directly on to the pitch. Finishing off the motivational makeover will be a slab of Connemara marble, from the original St Patrick’s Church altar, with Hibernian FC inscribed on to it. It will hang over the tunnel exit.
Willie Ormond’s daughter Christina Robertson, 58, was very moved when the News explained the new look to her.
She said: “I feel very honoured. For the players, I hope seeing the names will motivate them and they will be go out and achieve what my dad and the other members of the Famous Five did before them.” The creation of the Hibernian Tunnel follows the success of the sold out East Terrace, in which fans could have a name or personal message inscribed on a green granite panel.
Former player Mickey Weir, 47, said: “If I had seen those kind of messages on the wall it would have definitely inspired me ahead of a game.”