Brian Graham used to go “out on the tiles” on a regular basis with Morton player Ross Forbes.
But today the big Hibs striker will be looking to wipe the floor with his former club and help take the Easter Road side a step closer to winning the Championship title.
Neil Lennon’s players have stumbled in recent weeks as the finishing line has become ever closer, drawing three of their last four league matches and yet top the table by nine points.
Both Jim Duffy Peter Houston, managers of Morton and Falkirk, the two clubs tucked in behind the Capital outfit, have conceded the title is now Hibs to lose but, in theory at least, those sides still have a chance of pulling off what would be regarded as something of a shock.
However, Graham and his team-mates know victory at Cappielow would all but end Morton’s slim hopes, a result which would leave Duffy’s men trailing by 14 points with, for them, only five games remaining.
Morton, however, have drawn their last two games with Hibs, most recently a no-scoring draw at Easter Road more noted for the bust-up which marred the end of the game, a flashpoint which even now, ten days afterwards, is still prompting plenty of headlines.
As such Lennon’s players know they’ll receive a raucous welcome from the opposition – Graham in particular, given his past association with the club and the fact as a Raith Rovers player he once scored three goals against them in a season when Morton and Partick Thistle were going for the Division One title, the Greenock side ultimately finishing a poor second.
Acknowledging the fact that his boss might just take the heat off him a little following Lennon’s spat with Duffy which leaves them both facing an SFA disciplinary hearing, Graham said: “I got a bit of stick last time I was down there, so I suppose I will get it again.
“I got dog’s abuse, but that’s just part and parcel of the game.”
Although he began his career in Greenock, spending five years with Morton before becoming something of a footballing nomad, Graham revealed the changes since his days at Cappielow mean familiar faces are now few and far between.
He does, however, know Forbes reasonably well, the pair having spent their day off each week taking a tiling course under the auspices of the players’ union, PFA Scotland.
Now 29, Graham said: “Football doesn’t last forever and it is not as if myself and the other guys in the dressing-room have played in the Premier League in England and are all multi-millionaires, that doesn’t happen in Scotland.
“You have to keep an eye on the outside world because you are going to have to get a job sometime. Players in the past have left football with nothing to fall back on but Michelle Evans at PFA Scotland is doing a great job.
“You get newsletters evey month so it is all there for players and if you fancy doing something then go ahead and do it. My brother-in-law has a tiling company so I just thought I’d go and have a look and perhaps think about that line of business when I’m done playing football.
“Ross was on the course, he wasn’t too bad.”
Graham and Forbes, however, didn’t get the chance to renew acquaintance at Easter Road as the players from both sides were ushered into their respective dressing-rooms and, while the events of that night will undoubtedly be fresh in the minds of both sets of fans, Graham insisted it won’t affect what happens on the pitch.
He said: “You just have to be professional. What happened happened, we can’t change that. We have to fully focus on the football and keep cool heads.
“Morton are well organised, they’ve had a good season but we have to put our minds to getting the three points. Hopefully we get over the line soon but you don’t just get it because you are Hibs.”