Andy Holden hails Hibs hero Paul Hanlon and reveals his one piece of advice

Andy Holden has fond memories of Hibs defender Paul Hanlon. Pic: SNS
Andy Holden has fond memories of Hibs defender Paul Hanlon. Pic: SNS
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Andy Holden had one last little bit of advice for Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson as Hibs made their way up the steps at Hampden to lift the Scottish Cup for the first time in 114 years – make sure you are standing either side of David Gray.

The assistant boss of the Easter Road side was aware that would be the iconic photograph which would wing its way around the world, and he was determined two players who had come through the ranks and the highs and lows should have their place in history.

Holden who, along with John Doolan, was part of the Alan Stubbs management team which did so much to restore the Capital club’s pride following the humiliation of relegation, still treasures that moment and it will no doubt be replayed in his mind more than once as he make the trip from his North Wales home tomorrow to help pay tribute to Hanlon in his testimonial match against Blackburn Rovers.

“Taff” – as he was affectionately called – said: “I have worked with a few real good pros and Paul is right up there with them.

“He’s always first through the door, in the gym before the morning training session and back in the gym to do a bit extra afterwards.

“Paul’s a local boy who, like Lewy, came up through the ranks, worked hard, had played for the club for all those years and are still playing for Hibs.

“So when it came to that day at Hampden I had a quiet word and told them to make sure they were standing right next to Dave when he lifted the trophy.

“That’s the picture that goes all around the world and the two of them deserved to be in it.”

Holden first came across Hanlon at probably the lowest ebb in his career, just after the life-long Hibs fan had been forced to sit through much of the second half of that fateful season through injury, helpless to do anything as his team-mates crashed out of the Premiership.

But he quickly learned the attributes of a centre back who has picked up only 30 yellow cards and just one red – for handball – in his 345 games in a green and white shirt.

He said: “Paul would admit he’s not the quickest, but he reads the game so well he doesn’t get wrong wide and doesn’t have to make that last-ditch tackle.”