How beating Hibs gave Hearts sporting director Joe Savage one of his best days in football
Hearts sporting director Joe Savage has revealed that it was a win over Hibs which provided him with one of his best ever days in football.
The recently turned 37-year-old spent seven years with Hamilton Academical, working on recruitment and analysis.
He was part of Alex Neil’s backroom team during his successful stint with the Accies which included promotion to the Premiership at the expense of Hibs through the play-offs.
Hamilton trailed 2-0 from the first-leg as Terry Butcher’s men won with an assured performance at New Douglas Park.
However, Accies produced a famous turnaround to win on penalties at Easter Road.
It remains “one of the best days” in Savage's football career.
“It's great that I’m working for Hearts that I can talk about beating Hibs in the play-offs,” he told ‘From the Finney Podcast’.
"I always remember the first-leg. Hibs came to our stadium and they beat us comfortably. Hibs thought they had won it.
"Because they had beaten us 2-0 at our pitch that was the game done. Their manager was giving it all that to the fans, the players were absolutely buzzing.”
Savage still vividly remembers Neil’s post-match team talk and the team's response in the second leg.
"You could see in Alex’s eyes this wasn’t finished,” he said. “You could just tell the steely determination he has got, just knew it wasn't finished. It gave us all so much hope that the manager and assistant just knew.
“When we came into the dressing room Alex’s team talk was ‘this isn’t finished, guys. Don’t think for a minute this is finished. We go there, score early against them, that will put them under real pressure’. Lo and behold we went to Easter Road and within 20 minutes had scored.
“The only disappointing thing from that game was that we should have beat them in 90 minutes. We ended up scoring with a couple of minutes to go to take it into extra-time. We should have beaten them in extra-time.
"But to make it sweeter we beat them on penalties in front of their own fans. We were the first team to do it, to get promoted through the play-offs.
“I absolutely loved that.”