SMOKE bombs and pitch invasions are something you’d associate more with a derby than a Scottish Cup second-round tie at Pennypit Park, Prestonpans. However, Hibs kid David Gold got an unexpected taste of such an atmosphere as he starred for Queen’s Park in their 2-1 win over Preston Athletic on Saturday.
The Easter Road midfielder is currently on loan at the League Two side whose weekend clash with the Panners hit the headlines after flares were set off and fans invaded the pitch, forcing police and officials to take the players back into the dressing-room until calm was restored.
And Gold, 20, admits it’s an experience he won’t forget in a hurry.
He said: “The atmosphere was absolutely mad and, other than the pitch invasion, I think all of the boys enjoyed being part of it. From start to finish, it was brilliant.
“It was a big occasion for the whole town and, having got the replay from the first game at Hampden, the team were looking to make a bit of history so it was always going to be a hugely-competitive game.
“There were flares set off, a pitch invasion, and the police came on and stopped the game for a while – it was a real experience. To be honest, I couldn’t believe it. You see these kind of things happening on television in the Turkish league and other places but I have to admit that the adrenaline goes through you.
“When you think about it, it was unbelievable that the game was in the Scottish Cup second round.”
The game was already something of a special occasion for Gold, who knew the majority of the Preston players he was up against.
A number of the team – including his cousin James Reilly – grew up in Niddrie alongside Gold.
The Hibee used to have kickabouts in the local park with most of them as a kid and has kept in touch with a few on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.
“I knew several of their players,” he added, “my cousin included.
“He is a guy who I have always looked up to, especially in footballing terms, so it was great for us to finally play against one another.
“I haven’t played against him in a competitive match before but, in pre-season Hibs always play a friendly match against Preston, so we came up against one another in the summer when I was playing for the Under-20s and it was good. A lot of the Preston boys live in my area. I’m from Niddrie and grew up there so when I was younger I used to play football with some of them in local parks.
“Quite a few of them are on my Facebook and I speak to them quite regularly so I was getting messages backwards and forwards about how many of their friends and family were going, and for the game at Hampden, they were even putting buses on.
“Obviously. they were disappointed to eventually lose the game but I think they did well over the two matches.”
Gold, formerly skipper of Hibs Under-20s, hopes to progress his career when he returns from his loan spell at Queen’s Park towards the end of the year.
His loan deal with the Spiders runs out on December 14 and Gold knows he will face stiff competition to break into the first-team squad on his return to Edinburgh.
Up against the likes of Liam Craig, Kevin Thomson, Tom Taiwo, Scott Robertson and Owain Tudur Jones for a place in the Hibs engine room, Gold admits he will have to show some patience.
He continued: “Competition in midfield at Hibs is massive just now.
“Being out on loan is helping give me more experience and first-team games and I think that is important.
“I thought that it would be best to go out on loan and hopefully it will benefit me.
“Queen’s Park have been great and, although I have only been there for five weeks, I think I have learned a lot already.”