AS the green half of the city gears up for its second cup final in two seasons, excitement is reaching fever pitch across the board.
Cakes are being iced with “C’mon the Cabbage” slogans, new Hibs-inspired pizzas are being created, unlikely bets are being placed and lucky omens are being sought, as Hibs fans get ready for their latest attempt to break the club’s 111-year Scottish Cup hoodoo.
Leith baker the Sicilian Pastry Shop in Albert Street has designed a Hibs cake to show its support for the Easter Road side, while staff at Giuliano’s restaurant in Union Place have used the green and white of the team’s strip to concoct a new rocket and mozzarella pizza for the occasion.
Hibs club shop staff said special design T-shirts and hoodies have been flying out the door, as are Famous Five mugs and, rather oddly, commemorative golf balls.
Meanwhile, the city’s bookmakers are also doing a roaring trade with over £1000 worth of bets placed on a 5-1 Hibs win by optimistic punters at odds of 250/1.
A Ladbrokes spokesman said: “We’re getting a lot of small £1, £2 and £5 bets on the 5-1 scoreline but it’s noticeable and adding up to over £1000 across all our Edinburgh shops.”
City pubs and clubs are also hopeful of doing a brisk trade as a result of the game.
At the Constitution Bar, which has one of the largest screens in the city, seats have already been booked for the Sunday 3pm kick-off.
Owner Peter Stewart said: “Our alcove has been booked out by a party of 20 and over 30 other seats in the pub have been booked by customers not wanting to miss the action.
“The screen is 3.5 metres wide and one of the biggest in the city so there should be no danger of anyone missing anything.
“On the day we’ll have food and drinks promotions and we’ll have the traditional pies at half-time, too.
“It will be amazing for Leith if they win, the celebrations will go on for days.”
Former Hibs midfielder and owner of well-known fans haunt the Four in Hand, Paul Kane also expects a busy weekend ahead.
He said: “I expect we are going to be mobbed in the run-up to the game.
“Leith will be like a ghost town on Sunday though as every local I’ve been speaking to has booked a seat on a bus.
“We’re sending four buses ourselves, one of them is a former Hibs players bus with myself and the likes of Jackie McNamara, Bobby Duncan, Mickey Weir, Tam Preston and Peter Cormack.
“It was a great day last year until kick-off so hopefully we’ll get a better performance this time.
“The whole of Leith has their fingers crossed and there will be pandemonium afterwards if they win it.”
Fans heading to Hampden by rail on Sunday have also been warned to allow for extra time as a bridge replacement project on the Edinburgh-Glasgow Queen Street line will mean trains will not call at Falkirk High or Croy.
Services between Edinburgh and Glasgow Central will also be affected by work at Midcalder Junction, a replacement bus service will operate via Shotts until Wednesday.
A ScotRail spokeswoman said: “We have worked hard to put plans in place that will limit the impact of the engineering works on our customers. To help meet demand from football fans, there will be additional trains and extra carriages on key routes before and after the Scottish Cup final.
“Fans can help by buying their train tickets to Hampden in advance and allowing extra time to travel.”
Police Scotland urged fans to make their travel arrangements before leaving for the game.
Superintendent David Carradice, of Police Scotland’s Edinburgh division, said: “I would encourage all supporters to plan their travel in advance.”
And if you’re looking for lucky omens . .
THEY were an Edinburgh football team looking to claim national glory for the first time after a century-long wait – sound familiar?
Plucky youngsters from Broughton High have provided Hibs with the clearest sign yet that this could be their moment in the hunt for the Scottish Cup by claiming the SFA Under-13 Shield for the first time in the competition’s 109-year history.
The team beat Grange Academy 2-1 to claim the trophy, overcoming physically bigger opponents who led 1-0 at half-time.
But the players from Broughton came out fighting in the second half, turning the match around spectacularly thanks to a penalty and a coolly clinical strike from “proud” captain Ciaran Brian, 12.
The youngster, also a member of Hibs under-13s, said: “The determination and fight of the team changed completely in the second half. When we came back out after the team talk, it just seemed we were up for it a lot more and wanted to get back into the match. I’m just relieved we managed to come back.”
And predicting Hibs would win 2-1 on Sunday, he gave them one piece of advice: “They can’t let the pressure get to them.”
Also for those of a superstitious persuasion, a lucky omen, of sorts, has been unearthed behind a fireplace in Portobello.
Carol McMullan, 56, and husband Thomas, 52, were doing up her 87-year-old mum Jean Hogg’s house in Bellfield Street when they uncovered an old railway timetable dated 1875 – the year of the club’s foundation.
Carol said: “We pulled out a fireplace in one of the bedrooms and found it behind it. We’re all massive Hibbies so we’ve taken it as a sign. Our joiner is also a Hibs fan and he couldn’t believe it either.
“It’s incredible to think it’s been back there all those years. Hopefully it’ll bring us some luck.”