Fraser Fyvie: Hibs can savour cup '“ but now let's go up
Fraser Fyvie joined his team-mates in a stroll down memory lane as they gathered at a city cinema earlier this week for the premier of 'Time for Heroes', the newly-launched DVD which captures Hibs' historic Scottish Cup triumph.
Among the many behind-the-scenes snippets from that triumph at Hampden is Fyvie lifting the lid on the secret plan which led not only to Anthony Stokes’ equaliser against Rangers but skipper David Gray’s last-gasp winner which ended those 114 years of hurt and sparked celebrations which will live forever among the Easter Road support.
Fyvie reveals that with the minutes ticking away he was tempted to put in a cross from the right as the ball broke off a Rangers player but, remembering the work put in on the training ground, he let the ball run out for a corner.
Up stepped Liam Henderson to swing in a cross headed home by Stokes, a trick repeated to even greater effect only a few minutes later.
“There was a lot of planning done that week,” revealed Fyvie. “A lot of video stuff and work on the training ground. Alan Stubbs, John Doolan and Andy Holden had picked out points of weakness and thankfully on the day it worked out twice.
“Watching the DVD brought back a lot of good memories, seeing different people’s points of view not only on the day but until the end of the Sunday with the open-top bus parade and all those thousands of fans on the streets of Edinburgh.”
However, as nice as it was to wallow in nostalgia for an evening, Fyvie insisted he and his team-mates have to live in today’s world and, having gone back to the top of the Championship table, focus on winning promotion at the third time of asking.
The midfielder said: “The euphoria surrounding us winning the cup still doesn’t seem to have come to an end but, of course, it was such a long time since the club had won it.
“But, as a team, we have to crack on, focus on what we need to do this season. It’s a lovely memory to have, but we have to get on with things and make sure we are up there at the end of the season.”
Hibs ended a five-game run without a win by coming behind to defeat Dunfermline at East End Park to stretch out a three point lead on their title rivals and, while a visit from basement outfit St Mirren may appear to offer an opportunity to further extend that advantage on a day when the four clubs directly below them in the table play each other, Fyvie insisted nothing should be taking for granted.
Underlining that assertion is the bitter memory of how the Buddies knocked Hibs out of the Irn-Bru Cup earlier this month, a huge disappointment given boss Neil Lennon’s insistence that, although it may be the lowest ranked of the three cup competitions in Scotland, he was still determined to win it.
The silver-lining for Hibs, though, was the fact that setback cost them nothing in terms of league points.
Fyvie said: “They came here and beat us last time so we want to change that tomorrow. We’ll have our game plan and we’ll be ready to go.
“The league was the most important thing to us in the last couple of yers and it’s no different this season. We want to be up at the top and we should be with the squad we have. We have to keep churning out results and, if we do, I’m sure we’ll be there or thereabouts.
“It’s a top-versus-bottom game tomorrow but I don’t think St Mirren are a club who should be in that position. The change of manager [Jack Ross replacing Alex Rae] will give them a lift but they have some very good players and I’m sure their fortunes will turn – but hopefully not tomorrow.
“They’ve had a couple of weeks since their last game. It will have given Jack Ross time to work on how he wants to see them play but, as I have said, we’ll just look after ourselves.”
Equally, insisted Fyvie, he won’t be over-worrying about what happens in the matches between Dundee United and Falkirk, and Raith Rovers and Queen of the South.
He said: “Every week is a must-win game. We may be sitting at the top at the minute – and we want to stay there – but there are a lot of good teams around us.
“I’ve said before that I think people under-estimate this league. There are good teams as we saw last season in Falkirk beating us into second place. We just have to take it game by game and try to keep picking them off.
“This is one of those leagues where if you are not on top of your game there’s going to be an upset. The teams play each other four times over the course of the season. Teams get to know what you are about, get their game plan together and, if it works for them, they will get the results.”
Throughout Hibs’ dip in results, Lennon was adamant that – the Irn-Bru Cup defeat apart – his side’s performances hadn’t been reflected in the results they’d achieved, Fyvie agreeing that the victory over Dunfermline was, finally, the reward they’d been seeking for their efforts.
And, he claimed the nature of the victory, coming from a goal down to win with some comfort, was almost as pleasing as the final scoreline itself.
He said: “It showed character. We dug in and in the second half we put a lot ot pressure on them. I thought it was a good second half from us.
“Yes, we got a bit of luck for the first goal but, after that, we completely controlled the game. It was a good result but, I think, it was one of those games we had to get the three points.”
As if to emphasise Hibs’ determination to win was their third goal, Andrew Shinnie cleverly making space on the bye-line to cut the ball back for substitute Brian Graham to add a third goal, Grant Holt’s penalty having put the Capital side ahead after James Keatings’ deflected shot had cancelled out Kallum Higginbotham’s first-half spot-kick.
With the game deep into added-on time, the temptation for Shinnie might have been to take the ball into the corner and try to run down the clock, but Fyvie said: “The third goal possibly put a fairer reflection on the scoreline as far as we were concerned, but it also killed the game. At 2-1, you are still vulnerable, anything can happen in 30 seconds of football.”
Now Hibs are looking to build on that win in front of what they hope will be another bumper crowd, average league gates at Easter Road currently on a 43-year high, a remarkable statistic as Fyvie agreed saying: “What it does is underline the need for us to go up this season.”