Stephen Humphrys: 'Scoring for Hearts against Hibs was better than netting against Fiorentina'

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Stephen Humphrys was already running full tilt before Jorge Grant had even delivered the pass. He outpaced Lewis Stevenson to reach the midfielder’s weighted through ball first and calmly stroke Hearts’ third goal past Hibs goalkeeper David Marshall.

It was the 93rd minute of a memorable New Year Edinburgh derby and Humphrys’ first experience of the fixture. “It’s one of the best feelings I’ve had for a long time. The fans were great,” said the on-loan Wigan Athletic forward. “The atmosphere was incredible. That’s the best atmosphere I’ve played in for a long, long time. I’m just happy we could give the fans the win.”

He had been absent for more than two months with an ankle injury but returned to action in style. It was his first goal since that European night in Fiorentina’s Stadio Artemio Franchi, although Humphrys admitted Monday’s strike was a better feeling.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Yes, definitely. You can’t even compare it. The travelling fans in Florence were amazing but the atmosphere at the derby was just something else,” he remarked. I thought I had got some good momentum going. I settled here early doors because it’s such a good group of lads. So to get the injury was annoying because it was a little niggly one that just wouldn’t settle down.

“I was actually back in full training when we went to Spain and I thought I would be coming back and playing straight away but then in one of the sessions it happened again. I’ve just been working hard in the gym with Beni and Boycie and the boys who have been incurred. To come back and score against Hibs was a great feeling.”

Hearts coped with a second-half onslaught from their rivals to preserve a 2-0 advantage through Lawrence Shankland’s double. Then Humphrys entered the fray as substitute. “They were always going to come out in the second half and give it a good go. I thought in the second half they might have been the better team,” he admitted. “But Shanks does what Shanks does best and he got us a two-goal lead. The third goal killed it off and it allowed us to take a deep breath because Zander Clark’s saves in the second half kept us in it. They could have got a goal back and had a bit of momentum so a lot of credit goes to Zander and the defence. Toby [Sibbick] and Kye [Rowles] were incredible today as well.”

With 18 goals in 28 Hearts appearances, Shankland is in blistering form. A deep-lying forward role appears to suit him with the pacy Josh Ginnelly furthest up in the attacking line. “Shanks is probably the best player I’ve played with in terms of playing with his back to goal,” explained Humphrys. “His hold-up play is ten out of ten. He very rarely loses the ball. To be able to watch him and learn from him is great and he is a top guy as well. Nobody has a bad word to say about Lawrence. Playing alongside him and watching him can only help me.

“I’m just so happy to be back and helping the team. It’s been a frustrating time with injury but we have some good momentum right now and we want to keep that going and keep pushing on.”