Being present at such a momentous occasion at Hampden Park on Saturday is something that will live with me for many years to come.
The atmosphere both in and outside the ground is what makes the Edinburgh derby so special. The potential of both clubs was there for all to see as I have always believed this fixture has been hugely underestimated in some parts of the world.
The meeting-up with ex-players and friends of the club brought great enjoyment and leaving the Capital watching thousands of Hibernian supporters begin their journey to Glasgow in high spirits only reinforced how much it meant to them. However, I don’t think anyone could have envisaged the massive disappointment and failure that was about to unfold. In any momentous game such as Saturday’s final, nerves are bound to inhabit both sets of players before and during the match itself.
But this cannot in any shape or form be made as an excuse for the performance from any member of the Hibernian side. Irrespective of the ten-minute spell before the half-time interval when we got ourselves back into the game with the goal, we were comprehensively and systematically torn apart by a Hearts team who looked the more hungrier and motivated side throughout the course of the match.
To be sat amongst the Hibs supporters with over 35 minutes still to be played and knowing that our fate had already been sealed was very difficult to watch. On the park, if you can’t show any desire or commitment for such an important fixture, then your mentality as a professional footballer must be drawn into question. It’s all too easy to express your thoughts and appease the supporters prior to kick-off in the build-up, but you must be able to deliver where it matters most and that is on the field of play.
The concerns I had in the midfield area were again overlooked and from the off Hearts managed to take control. Men against boys is the most appropriate phrase to sum up Saturday’s events and I completely concur with Pat Fenlon’s post-match comments, which indicate that there is a softness around Easter Road. Scars from this debacle will take an eternity to heal but congratulations must go to Hearts on being crowned Scottish Cup winners for 2012.
Looking at the overall performance of the club this season, I am afraid to say that unless a heart is found beating once again within Easter Road, this great club will unfortunately continue its decline. Trying to achieve the success that we all crave on such low budgets is an ambition that seems almost impossible and won’t attract the calibre of players the supporters deserve. Therefore, radical changes are a necessity in all departments of the club and as soon as possible. Whatever has been going on within the core of the club over the past few years, the results and performances on the park have shown that these changes must be addressed, as quite frankly, it’s not working. Heading into the biggest game of our history littered with loan signings tells a story in itself and shows the stability at the club is nonexistent.
We must find a leadership that will see us back on track. Hard decisions are required but this club urgently needs re-energised from head to toe.
The manager will begin preseason with a huge job on his hands to restore the confidence of the Hibs support. However, he did manage to achieve what he was brought in to do and that was ensure our SPL status for next season. If he is able to put a side out on the field that is fit to play for Hibernian then it is only then we might start to see the old faithful beginning to reappear through the turnstiles.
My heart goes out to supporters who turned up in huge numbers on Saturday expecting a committed performance from a side they have followed all season despite the heartache endured. We as fans are now left to pick up the pieces and try to move on from what can only be described as a living nightmare. Unfortunately, our wait goes on for Scottish Cup glory and maybe in future we should push aside all the destiny chat for one day and focus on putting in a committed performance, which isn’t much to ask for, I would have thought.