Farid El Alagui hopes he’ll be kissing lucky coin against Hibs

LUCKY COIN: Farid El Alagui. Picture: Michael Gillen
LUCKY COIN: Farid El Alagui. Picture: Michael Gillen
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It was a sight Hibs fans didn’t seen enough off, but one they’ll be hoping they don’t witness on Saturday, Dunfermline striker Farid El Alagui kissing his “lucky” coin.

The £1 coin, which the 
Bordeaux-born striker found on the Falkirk pitch before his first game in Scotland five years ago, has remained with him ever since and has been kissed every time he has scored a goal.

At each of his clubs since it has been entrusted to the care of a member of the backroom staff, initially coaches Lee Bullen and Stevie Crawford at Falkirk, then Brentford’s kitman Bob Oteng, Dundee United coach Darren Jackson, John Doolan, Hibs assistant head coach, and now the Pars physio Kenny Murray.

As El Alagui admits, Doolan didn’t have to reach into his pocket too often during two injury-racked seasons at Easter Road which brought just seven goals, four of them in his first five matches before a ruptured Achilles tendon all but brought his Hibs career to a shuddering halt.

Having started just one match in a green-and-white shirt last season, the 31-year-old wasn’t surprised to be released but, having signed a short term deal with Dunfermline, he’s desperate to make up for lost time.

Four goals in his past four games for Allan Johnston’s side would suggest he’s doing exactly that and having scored against the Bairns last weekend, he admitted he’d love to do the same when Hibs visit East End Park on Saturday.

But, he insisted, if that were to happen it would most certainly be a case of business before pleasure, believing whatever happens he’ll receive a warm welcome from the travelling support having been the subject of some boos from the Falkirk fans for whom he could once do no wrong.

“It was disappointing,” he admitted, “because I had a good relationship with them. It was only a minority, but that’s what happens in football. However, you know the game, it’s my job. I have to look after my family.

“I still live in Edinburgh so I get Hibs fans coming up to me, which is nice. I know I didn’t manage to play so many games, but that was down to the serious injury I suffered.

“But I think throughout they were with me, willing me to get fit and to play for Hibs again. They didn’t see as much of me as I would have liked, but I have many happy memories, scoring the goal which clinched the derby at Easter Road was, of course, something great to give the fans.

“It was also tremendous for them that the team won the Scottish Cup. I was on the open top bus the next day and while it was a fantastic experience to see what it mean to them, I felt as if I was just a passenger.

“Now I want to do my best for Dunfermline. I’ve had a few chances to use my lucky coin this season and hopefully I can do so again on Saturday.

“I know the Hibs fans won’t want that to happen, but it would be nothing personal.

“I suffered a potentially career-ending injury. Now I am just happy to be back playing.”