Niklas Gunnarsson today admitted he feels like one of the luckiest guys in football, a Hibs legend only five months after arriving at Easter Road.
The big Norwegain defender conceded it felt a “bit strange” as a relative newcomer to find himself lifting the Scottish Cup after previous Hibs teams has tried and failed to do so for 114 years, but he added: “That happens in football, so I feel very lucky. Hibs haven’t been too lucky in the Scottish Cup, but today everybody can be proud. I’m so proud to have done something that the club have been waiting to do for 114 years, that I am going to be in this great club’s history. It’s unbelievable.
“I learned about the Scottish Cup and how important it ws to this club after the semi-final in the League Cup. The lads all told me it was big to come to a League Cup final – but it was nothing compared to being in the Scottish Cup final. I don’t know how long it wil take to sink in, but this is a day I will remember for the rest of my life.”
And the 25-year-old insisted the joy of Hampden had fully vindicated his decision to come to Edinburgh on a short-term loan spell, one which has now ended and will see him return to his parent club Valerenga although, he revealed, he’d jump at the chance of a return to Hibs.
The Norwegian Under-21 cap said: “I’ve said many times that I want to come back here. I’m enjoying my football, every day of my spell here has felt like a privilege. We will see what happens.”
Gunnarsson was introduced into the action seven minutes from time, replacing the injured Paul Hanlon in central defence, but he claimed, he wasn’t nervous at all, only determined to play his part. And he was equally adamant he hadn’t been alarmed by the pitch invasion even although fans were clamouring for his shirt and boots with one even asking for his boxer shorts. He said: “It was very different, I’ve never experienced that before. I’ve seen scenes like that on TV but never been in the middle of it. People wanted photos, shirts, shoes and one of the guys asked for my boxer shorts! I told him no chance. I couldn’t believe when he asked me for them. They were expensive, Nike, they cost me £20. He can buy his own.”
Now Gunnarsson is contemplating auctioning off his highly-sought after boxers for charity. He said: “My grandmother Elsie died of cancer last summer so that would be a good idea.”