And so it’s all over. After five weeks of frenzied build-up, it feels a bit like Boxing Day, now that the all-Edinburgh final has been and gone. For Hibs fans, it ended up being utterly forgettable, although those present are sure to have trouble erasing visions of this harrowing day from their memory banks.
Hearts fans, by contrast, will want to squeeze every bit of joy they can from an occasion which has already provided them with a lifetime of happy memories. For neutrals, the riot of noise and colour inside the stadium on match day and then across Edinburgh’s streets as Hearts celebrated in the aftermath was truly spectacular.
From my professional point of view, it was a joy and a privilege to chronicle such an historic coming together of these two city rivals, as all and sundry who had ever pulled on a maroon or green jersey lined up to offer their opinion in the build-up to a the historic match. The game itself was too one-sided to be considered anything like a classic, even if Hearts were magnificent. Everyone’s now wondering when talk of the cup final begins to die down. Will it stall in the next few days or will it carry on right through the summer?
Hearts fans would be advised to glory in this triumph for as long as possible, because the alternative is looking towards next season when, with uncertainty over the future of their manager and several key men, there is no guarantee that the outlook is bright. Whatever materialises at Tynecastle, however, at least the Jambos have something tangible and life-defining to cling to, as what happened at the weekend can never be taken away from them.
In contrast, Hibs fans have no source of solace. When the fog of Saturday’s defeat eventually lifts – if it ever does – Hibbies will be met by the grim, dispiriting realisation that their squad is in need of yet another overhaul. So, while uncertainty reigns about the two teams’ future prospects, the one sure thing is that the Edinburgh derby landscape has altered dramatically, with dominance and bragging rights now even more firmly in Hearts’ favour than anyone could have envisaged at this time last week.
The only way Hibs can redress the balance is to end their ever-lengthening Scottish Cup drought by, er, beating their city rivals in the final. However, you get the feeling that, after Saturday, most battle-weary Hibbies will be praying the all-Edinburgh final does indeed prove to be a “once-in-a-lifetime” occasion.
What a weekend it was for clubs owned by controversial Russian owners. Hearts fans used to sing “We’re Chelsea of the North” back in 2005, after Vladimir Romanov had splashed out on some expensive new recruits, while the Stamford Bridge club, albeit on a far more grand scale, were doing likewise under Roman Abramovich.
The similarities have been there throughout, with both men ruffling feathers with their apparent desire to meddle in team affairs and change managers regularly. And here we are again, with both teams celebrating the most momentous triumphs in their history on the same day, as Chelsea won the Champions League on Saturday evening.
In a further quirk, neither of the two managers who oversaw the glory on Saturday are certain to keep their jobs, with question marks still hanging over Paulo Sergio and Roberto Di Matteo despite both receiving widespread acclaim.
Romanov and Abramovich may have a seemingly bizarre way of going about their business, but there is no getting away from the fact they have both presided over golden periods in their respective clubs’ histories. Perhaps there is some method in their perceived madness after all.