With so much at stake at New Douglas Park last night, it was always going to be a tense affair.
Even the most hardened of professionals would have felt some pre-match jitters but, credit where it’s due, the Hibs players dealt with the occasion admirably and took their chances when they came their way.
The first goal was always going to prove critical in a game of this calibre and what a sensational strike from Jason Cummings it took to provide us with a platform to build on.
I am sure Terry Butcher would have taken a 1-0 victory with open arms prior to last night’s tie, so having two goals without reply will give everybody in the dressing-room a massive boost ahead of Sunday’s second leg.
After all the hype about Hamilton and their decent run of form of late, including the 10-2 hammering of Morton, I am sure their manager Alex Neil will be hugely deflated that his side were unable to capitalise on having home advantage first.
Hamilton didn’t really test Ben Williams enough over the 90 minutes despite enjoying a reasonable amount of possession.
However, no two games are ever the same in football and I would urge Terry and his players to tread carefully, as Hamilton will approach Sunday’s clash with nothing to lose. It would be extremely dangerous, and foolish, to write their chances off.
However, we will now be heavy favourites to retain our place in the top flight and a professional performance this weekend should finally get us over the line.
The Hibs supporters can make Sunday a carnival atmosphere should we manage to get our noses in front again and I think if we are to find that third goal, our Premiership status will be preserved for next season.
Ultimately, this has been our goal since the final-day defeat to Kilmarnock and should we come through the tie unscathed on Sunday, we will have achieved our sole objective.
All in all, it was a good night’s work for Terry and his players, but we must remember it is only half-time.
I, like every Hibs supporter, just want to finish the tie off and put this season to bed.