John Gibson: Leslie hopes the better team wins!

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Leslie Deans could barely contain himself. Chairman of Hearts when they won the trophy on May 15, 1998, he was on the blower to me smartish to congratulate me – and I’ve no reason to disbelieve him – on Hibs reaching Hampden for the crunch and, simultaneously, the Jambos doing likewise.

“John, I’m happy for both clubs and come May 19 I want to see both sets of fans behave with dignity and respect and standing by Edinburgh’s good name.

“You’ve got to believe this. I’ve an affinity with both teams. There’s a touch of bias there, admittedly, but you’ve been around a wee while and you’ll understand. Had the Boer War been fought when Hibs last won the cup?’’

A tongue-in-cheek Leslie added: “My dad died in December ‘89 and he and ex-Hibs manager, the late Eddie Turnbull, were great pals, both Royal Navy, and they relished many a blether in the respective board rooms.

“It was always Navy days recollections . . . Eddie served on the Arctic convoys and dad on the Atlantic run. They were made of the right stuff.

“If only they could have sat together this coming final. They’ll be upstairs sitting on a cloud with front-row seats.’’