ANTHONY BROWN was at La Cala with Hibs and found a harmonious group of players ready for their biggest game of the season ..
Hibs fans might have been entitled to a slight degree of concern as they read Michael Stewart’s account of a toxic pre-League Cup final training camp on the Costa del Sol in 2007 just as Alan Stubbs was taking the current team to the same part of the world to prepare for the same match nine years later.
The former Easter Road midfielder used his newspaper column to dish the dirt on a nightmare trip to Marbella in which players grew mutinous towards manager John Collins over his authoritarian management style.
Hibs fans can rest assured that there are no such issues in the camp these days.
The only hint of rebellion towards management came when the players took umbrage at the fact the coaching staff and members of the travelling media corps had jumped in a hotel minibus to make the short journey down a long, winding hill to the training pitch while they had to walk.
The verbal abuse and hand gestures as we drove past them were all in jest, of course.
Spending time at the La Cala Resort, it was plain to see that this is a happy and harmonious squad.
Online rumours of Anthony Stokes being a disruptive influence on the side can be put to bed. The striker was seen bantering away with the likes of Darren McGregor, James Keatings and Jason Cummings and was a picture of contentment among this group of players.
Cummings and Keatings are the two obvious jokers in the pack, with press officer John Stephens, who had his garish gear relentlessly mocked by Marvin Bartley, spending much of the trip on high alert to avoid being pranked by the pair.
Cummings can be constantly heard making jovial quips towards team-mates, but his presence undoubtedly enlivens the mood.
After trying to hide from his media duties before being coaxed from his room by captain David Gray, he had the assembled journalists in thrall to him as he entertained us with some hilarious stories about his rise to prominence at Hibs.
Towards the end of an interview, when he was getting all heartfelt and profound, he suddenly ran out of words and then said: “ah, I was doing brilliant as well and I’ve just crumbled.” With that he was up and off, back to noise up his team-mates as they prepared for another training session on a perfectly-manicured pitch in the Andalusian hills.
This Hibs squad are in a happy place ahead of their biggest game of the season.