Jordon Forster was forced to look on from afar as his team-mates wrote their names into the history books by clinching Hibs’ first Scottish Cup win in 114 years.
But now the big defender, having just signed a new two-year deal, is determined to use the disappointment of missing out on that big day at Hampden to drive the Capital club back to the Premiership.
Frustrated by a lack of first team action, the 22-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Plymouth Argyle but he found it hard not to be part of the euphoric celebrations as Alan Stubbs’ side finally ended that hoodoo.
He said: “I watched it in my flat. We’d been training that day but I think most of the boys were still out there as I raced back to catch the game. I watched it with Greg Wylde who played for Rangers so there was a bit of banter. But, to be honest, I would rather have watched it on my own.
“I went and sat in my bedroom for a wee while after the game. It was good to see, it was not just the cup final, but probably one of the best cup finals you will see in a long, long time.
“I was just delighted for the boys, as friends, for the manager and whatnot to put their names in the history books. It was brilliant to see, But, on the flip side, I would be lying to say I didn’t sit for a couple of days and while I wouldn’t say I was upset, I was down to see such an achievement for your own team but that you’re not there to experience it.
“It was difficult. For the boys it was unbelievable and some of the stories they’ve been telling me about it have been incredible but, at the same time, it was hard not to be a part of it.”
Forster watched the final as he and Derek Adams’ Plymouth prepared for their own big day – a League Two play-off final against AFC Wimbledon at Wembley. But it turned to heartache for Forster as he gave away an injury-time penalty which Adebayo Akinfenwa converted to clinch a 2-0 win for Wimbledon.
He said: “I had another disappointment, but that’s football. Hundreds of thousands of players go through it all over the world. They’ll have a setback and then another setback and another and another until something good happens. It was a tough couple of weeks, but I managed to get away on holiday, to clear my head and come back fresh.”
Having seen his team-mates write their names large, Forster now wants to do the same. He said: “I’m 22 and I need to try to make my name and do something. Games are important and this season promotion is so important. For the boys in there, they’ve all got their names in history for winning the Scottish Cup.
“They’ve done something. For me to get promoted is not only for the team but for personal achievement, something that any player will strive for.”
As delighted as he is to have finally signed a deal which has been on the table for some time, Forster admitted that, as he headed south in January, he feared he may have pulled on a Hibs shirt for the last time.
He said: “When Alan came in I played a few games but had a few injuries and never really got back to my best and into the team. He’s a great manager and I actually got on quite well with him. But the form of Liam Fontaine, Paul Hanlon and Darren McGregor meant he had no reason to drop any of them which was probably fair enough.”
However, a few chats with new boss Neil Lennon convinced Forster he did, after all, have a future at Easter Road. He said: “I spoke to the manager when I was on holiday, he was asking about the previous manager and whatnot and one of the things I said to him was I wanted to play football.
“I’m still 22, but I think it’s an age where I really need to try to get some games. That’s obviously what I did when I went down to play for Plymouth.
“I spoke to the manager. We’ve had a few chats and it’s been reasonably positive so I was delighted to actually sign the contract – it’s been in the pipeline for a while – and now I can just concentrate on football now.”