Alan Stubbs today described Hibs’ Scottish Cup victory parade as “mindblowing” and a day he and his players will never forget.
Around 100,000 fans thronged the streets of the Capital as the Easter Road squad drove from the City Chambers to Leith Links atop an open deck bus, an indication, claimed Stubbs, of the Championship club’s potential. And, he insisted, seeing the look on his players’ faces as they ended Hibs’ 114-year wait to get their hands on the trophy was worth its weight in gold, admitting that although he’d been warned the bus parade would be something special, he’d been totally taken aback by the welcome they were given.
He said: “Even as we started the journey it got bigger and louder with every corner we turned. It was a mass of green and white. It was a bit crazy. I’d done it once at Bolton but not on that level. It was mindblowing. I know Saturday was special for my players but none of them will forget the parade.
“It’s pleasing to lift a huge weight off their [the fans] shoulders. We’ve been lucky enough to be the team that has achieved that. There have been many good teams before us who have tried and unfortunately not succeeded and we’ve been the ones who managed to do it. I’ve said all along it was going to change and we wanted it to be us. We came very close last season and it wasn’t to be, but we’ve taken that final step. I’m thrilled for the players.”
Stubbs succeeded in ending Hibs’ Scottish Cup hoodoo in only his second season as a manager but, he insisted, the credit was all due to the players while he revealed having his son Sam – who has just completed his first year as a scholar at Wigan Athletic – and his daughter Heather join in the after-match celebrations at the stadium only added to the occasion for him. He said: “I had my share of success as a player and I know how special it is. For me, to be their manager and have that look on their faces of finally achieving something is worth its weight in gold.
“We went back to Easter Road for a while but I didn’t have a heavy night. I had family up including Sam. He’s a centre back and he’s got half a chance. I was quite sensible as a young lad and looking at him now I’d say he’s better than me when I was his age. I don’t interfere. It’s up to him if he wants to work hard but for him to see that was fantastic. All my early memories would have been based around Everton, seeing them winning the FA Cup and walking up the old Wembley Way.
“Now he’ll have a memory of seeing this football club and me as a manager lift something. That’s special and words can’t describe that.”
The final, of course, was marred by thousands of Hibs fans flooding onto the Hampden pitch with accusations from Rangers that some of their players and staff had been assaulted. But, while insisting Hibs, who have promised to fully cooperate with the investigation which began immediately, Stubbs admitted he was gutted the scenes had prevented his players enjoying a lap of honour.
He said: “A really unfortunate set of circumstances happened that no-one wants to see. No-one at this football club, the players, everybody, we don’t condone it whatsoever. We don’t condone any of the scenes afterwards. We have to wait and see what comes out in the report. Whatever happens we will have to take it on the chin as a club.”