Everything about this past weekend has been absolutely perfect.
The whole Hibs support will never forget what has just happened over the last couple of days – it’s been truly overwhelming. It exceeded all expectations about what I thought it would be like when this moment eventually came. To end the hoodoo by scoring a stoppage-time winner against a team like Rangers is fairytale stuff.
When David Gray’s header hit the net and then the full-time whistle went, I felt every emotion you could imagine. I was at the game with youngest son Harrison, and my older boy Reece went with his mates. I was so glad they could be there to see Hibs win the Scottish Cup because so many of my family members have passed away without witnessing it. I couldn’t help but think about my grandad, my dad and my older uncles who never got to see that.
I was in the same area of the ground as other former Hibs players like Keith Wright, Stuart Lovell and Nick Colgan, and they were ecstatic. To have been associated with this club for so long and finally experience winning the Scottish Cup is something that will live with me forever. I’m so pleased for all these long-suffering supporters, and for the players who deserve all the credit going for picking themselves up off the canvas to give us a lifetime of memories.
After the blow of losing in the play-offs just eight days earlier, that took some serious mental strength for these boys to rouse themselves enough to beat Rangers in a Scottish Cup final, especially after being 2-1 down.
It was great to see the way they played – it was just sheer determination and desire to win. It wasn’t so much about tactics or who played where, it was just a ding-dong cup game that boiled down to who wanted it more – and that was Hibs. In the first half we were by far the better team and had chance after chance but then Rangers went up the park and scored out of nothing. To then go 2-1 down and have to come back after all they’ve been through this season, the players deserve so much praise. I never thought it was over at 2-1 because we had plenty time to get back in the game and I still felt we looked a threat. The manager made a brave decision to keep Liam Henderson and James Keatings on the bench but it meant they were able to give us fresh impetus when they came on. Henderson in particular changed the game and he produced two brilliant deliveries for the goals. For once, I just felt like this final was destined to go our way.
Afterwards, when I got back to Edinburgh I parked my car near the stadium and went for a walk along Easter Road. It was just celebration after celebration outside every pub. I just wanted to take it all in because I might never see it again in my lifetime.
Then I took my kids to the parade yesterday and that’s what my dad would have done with me if he was still here. It gave me such pride to have my boys there. I wanted them to sample some of the scenes that I saw after League Cup triumphs in the past. Hopefully they’ll grow up and take their own kids to see another Scottish Cup win in the future but, even if they don’t get that chance, they’ll always be able to say they’ve seen Hibs win the Scottish Cup – that’s something to cherish. We just walked from the top of Easter Road all the way down to Leith Links to wait for the open-top bus to come down. It was great just to be in amongst it all. I saw so many people I haven’t seen for years who were totally overwhelmed by what they’d just witnessed.
I’d had a parade as a player after winning the Skol Cup in 1991 but it was amazing to feel what it was like as a fan. To be honest, this was just as enjoyable as any celebrations I had as a player. It’s great as a player to know you’ve played a part in delivering something, but, as a supporter, to be watching Hibs make history like that was simply incredible – you just can’t buy these moments. Hopefully, getting this monkey off our back can act as a springboard for the club. The Scottish Cup has been such a big issue for these Hibs supporters. If there’s anything that will bring them back in good numbers, it will be winning this cup. There’s still a disappointment at not getting promotion but this triumph ensures the fans will go away with happy memories for the summer and will be itching to get back to Easter Road for the new season.
I hope the scenes of the past couple of days galvanise the support. If what we’ve experienced since Saturday doesn’t bring a wave of positivity to the club, then nothing will.