Christian Doidge showed focus when asked to change game against Morton so late
Having watched Paul Heckingbottom use his third substitute, Christian Doidge admits he would normally have taken off his shinpads and loosened off his boots laces, resigning himself to an afternoon on the bench.
Instead the striker found himself being thrust into the action as Hibs faced an extra 30 minutes against Morton, Heckingbottom taking advantage of being able to make a fourth changes at that stage of the Betfred Cup tie.
It was a move which paid off, the former Forest Green Rovers hitman clinching the 5-3 win which allowed everyone inside Easter Road to breath that little bit easier and propelled the club into a quarter-final clash away to Kilmarnock next month.
“I’d never come on in extra time in a match before,” revealed Doidge, joking he’d almost lost count of the goals scored as Morton, having been two down at one point, forced a 3-3 draw in the last minute of regulation time.
“Usually if you are on the bench and you see the three subs go on, the rest take off the shin pads and unlace the boots. However, we knew there was a chance of one of us going on, so you have to be ready. That rule has been in for a while in cup competitions so while you are disappointed not to be on, you have to stay professional, be ready to help the team.”
Heckingbottom had Doidge, Joe Newell and Oli Shaw as well as goalkeeper Ofir Marciano to call on at that stage, but immediately he turned to the Welshman.
“When we were winning and the clock was ticking towards the 90th minute it was a nice feeling thinking we were in the next round,” said the 26-year-old.
“But when they scored the gaffer said right away I was going on. It was a positive sub rather than a defensive one, Flo Kamberi and me going up front and Scott Allan in the hole behind. It was really positive, showed we were out to win and we were really happy we managed to do that.
“Extra time wasn’t ideal against a team on paper we should beat, but getting through to the next round was all that mattered. I wanted to come on and make an impact and relieve a bit of pressure. I got that opportunity thanks to a great ball from Vicky (Vykintas Slivka).
“We made the game a lot harder than it should have been, conceding that many goals is a little bit frustrating - but we scored five which is encouraging. Down south I’ve probably been in a few games like that.
“In the Welsh leagues I think every game had scorelines like that, so I’m used to it, backs against the wall, defending for your life and then going up the other end and scoring.”
Simply winning following the 6-1 hammering by Rangers six days earlier was, admitted Doidge, a relief. He said: “There were a tough couple of days straight after it. I’ve watched that game back more than any other.
“Obviously everyone is down in the dumps because you feel your pride has gone a bit. But the manager dealt with everything well, lots of fun in training to get the morale back up.”