Grant Holt left in awe of Darren McGregor’s Hibs story

Grant Holt promotes Hibs' 2017-18 season-ticket campaign
Grant Holt promotes Hibs' 2017-18 season-ticket campaign
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There’s been talk of the story of Jamie Vardy’s life being turned into a movie after Leicester City’s fairytale English Premier League win.

But, as far as Hibs striker Grant Holt is concerned, his Easter Road team-mate Darren McGregor’s got just as good a tale to tell.

06/08/16 LADBROKES CHAMPIONSHIP 
 FALKIRK v HIBERNIAN (1-2) 
 FALKIRK STADIUM - FALKIRK 
 Darren McGregor in action for Hibernian

06/08/16 LADBROKES CHAMPIONSHIP FALKIRK v HIBERNIAN (1-2) FALKIRK STADIUM - FALKIRK Darren McGregor in action for Hibernian

McGregor, pictured below, is the boy from Leith, a lifelong Hibs fan who created his own little bit of footballing history as one of those who got his hands on the Scottish Cup to end 114 years of heartbreak.

Holt admitted he thought the closest he’d ever get to enjoying such a match was attending the launch of the DVD to mark the occasion, but now he’s played in two Edinburgh derbies, enjoying his own special moment as he knocked home Hibs second goal in their 3-1 win to yet again knock Hearts out of the competition and then lapping up 16,500 fans belting out Sunshine on Leith as he and his team-mates set of on a lap of honour.

The veteran striker said: “I’ve been very fortunate. Since being here I’ve had time on my hands with my family living down the road so I went to watch the DVD of the final at the cinema.

“When you look at what Darren McGregor has done, to be a boy from Leith standing on Leith Walk with the Scottish Cup in his hands. They talk about the Jamie Vardy story but if that’s not a story in itself I don’t know what is.

“When you watched that, you kind of think you’d like to be involved in it. You don’t think it’s [Sunshine on Leith] going to happen this year – but it did. And to walk around at the end knowing you had put in a good shift and had earned it was great.

“The only disappointment was it [the result] should have been even more comfortable so we could really have rubbed their noses in it.”

The former Norwich City hitman hot-footed it south after Hibs 2-2 draw with Dunfermline to watch his old club in their own derby against Ipswich Town but, he admitted, he enjoyed the Edinburgh version a little more.

He said: “Derbies are derbies, I love a derby. You can’t beat them, can you? Especially when you win.

“It’s a different game, they don’t change. The fans don’t change. They want to sing songs about each other and they don’t like each other on the day. And then the next day they are probably working with each other and slagging each other off. I’m happy, it’s always great to have the bragging rights.”

However, as much as he enjoyed the cup clashes with Hearts, Holt insisted that, for the moment, such games remain a side-issue with Hibs’ priority being promotion, the hope being they will take another step towards a return to the Premiership in tonight’s match against basement side St Mirren in Paisley.

He said: “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking anything away from our achievement. I thought we were absolutely unbelievable in both legs. We should have won the away game and we let them off the hook in the home game by giving them a penalty we didn’t need to give them. They are your nice days. But I came here with one ambition and that was to get the club up to the Premiership. That’s it, it hasn’t changed.”

Given the toll the cup replay had taken on Neil Lennon’s players both mentally and physically, Holt was adamant the draw which followed a few days later against Dunfermline should be viewed as a good point for the Capital club.

He said: “No-one ever said it was going to be easy. You guys have seen it for three years now and you know how difficult it is.

“Dunfermline came here last weekend, we had a 14,500 crowd and if you can’t get up for that when you are the away side you should not be playing football. And they were good. To be fair they had had ten days off and they were buzzing around and they knew we would be lethargic.”

Hibs had goalkeeper Ofir Marciano to thank for the point they did get but, insisted Holt, the determination not to lose was all too evident.

He said: “Sometimes you are going to need your goalkeeper. We have an outstanding goalkeeper. A lot of weeks he doesn’t get worked but when we needed him he was there.

“When you look at this team when our backs are against the wall no-one lies down, no-one takes it for granted, we don’t let points slip away. We got our point and we nearly won it. It’s another game ticked off and we are seven points clear. Would we have taken that at the start of the season? Of course we would.”

Lennon admitted his players had been “running on fumes” by the end of Saturday’s match given their exertions against Hearts but, insisted Holt, they are ready to go again, claiming St Mirren’s need for points could play into Hibs’ hands.

He said: “The onus is on them, they are going to have to come out and try to attack us and anyone who has watched us this season knows that if they want to come out and play then good luck to them because we have a team that can hurt you very quickly.

“We’ve a lad up-front who can put the ball in the back of the net, a defence that enjoys defending, a fantastic bench and a great squad of lads. Whoever you put in the team you know you are going to get a shift from them which is great.

“Look at Saturday, we 
had Marvin Bartley playing centre-half, Andrew Shinnie with a dead leg, Callum Crane being put in a three at the back for his first game and the legs have gone. But we ground through, put our bodies on the line because you know you have to do it.”