Hibs in 50 objects: No.21 – The Easter Road tunnel

The entrance to the hallowed Easter Road turf
The entrance to the hallowed Easter Road turf
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It’s where every Hibs fan would love to be at 2.55pm on a Saturday, standing in the tunnel at Easter Road preparing to walk out onto the pitch.

It’s something defender Paul Hanlon has done scores of times but, he admitted an experience he’ll never tire of enjoying.

The names of the Famous Five adorn the steps of the tunnel

The names of the Famous Five adorn the steps of the tunnel

He said: “I think the first few times you do it you find it a bit surreal. You know every Hibs fan would love to be in your position.

“There’s those five steps up from the tunnel to pitch level, each carrying the names of the Famous Five, Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull and Ormond which tells you it’s special.

“Standing there getting ready to go out you hear the noise of the crowd, especially before the big games. For a lot of games you have a mascot to guide out but you are concentrating an focusing on the match ahead of you.”

There are obviously nerves among both sets of players in those few minutes, with individuals reacting differently – some noisy and trying to gee up their team-mates and others in a more contemplative mood, keeping themselves to themselves – before the referee leads them out.

Hanlon said: “I don’t pay any attention to the opposition, I don’t worry about them. You do all the hard work in the week leading up to the game so in those few minutes you are standing side-by-side in the tunnel it’s a case of concentrating on doing your job, what you have to do in any given game.

“After walking out, lining up and exchanging handshakes I usually pick out my mum and dad in the stand to give them a wave before taking up my position.”