THERE was a time when showpiece matches at Hampden were a rarity for Capital football fans. Today you might be tempted to think they are ten-a- penny.
Tomorrow Hearts will look to make history by winning back-to-back trophies at the national stadium. Next month Hibs return to Mount Florida for a semi-final in which they are hot favourites to book their place in successive Scottish Cup finals.
In the middle of such an extraordinary run, it is easy to become blasé. After all, how important is a league cup final against unglamorous St Mirren after the high tension of last year’s cup final derby?
The build-up to tomorrow’s final has been relatively low key after the hype surrounding last May’s all-Edinburgh showdown.
Of course, come three o’clock tomorrow there will be no shortage of nervous tension as the Jambo kids take to the pitch. But before we risk taking an occasion like this for granted it is worth stopping to draw breath.
No Edinburgh side has ever before held Scotland’s two most important knock-out competition trophies at the same time. This is the stuff of history, something that the greats of both Hearts and Hibs, from Dave Mackay to Eddie Turnbull, have never achieved before.
The last year has been tough for the city’s football fans. The Jambos of course have had to stare into the abyss, forced to contemplate the possibility of life without their beloved club.
The League Cup final is, we must hope and believe, another major step on the road to survival.
Hibs fans have had to endure the humiliation of last May’s 5-1 cup final defeat. For them, this year’s cup run offers the hope of salvation, with the prospect of an elusive Scottish Cup win again growing tantalisingly close.
Let’s not forget that winning a major trophy is a big deal for any side, a once every ten years occasion for Capital football fans.
These might be turbulent financial times for Scottish football – but this is also potentially a golden age for both Jambos and Hibbies. Let’s make the most of it while we can.