Michael Weir: Marvin Bartley is my man of the season
After three long and difficult seasons in the Championship, it's a great feeling knowing that Hibs' next league match will be in the Premiership.
The rest of Scottish football will be well aware that we’re returning to the top flight with momentum and a feelgood factor, and hopefully we can capitalise on that next season.
The most important thing this season was always to make sure, by hook or by crook, that we got promoted – and we did that. The Championship is not an easy league to get out of, especially when you’ve got a new manager coming in, but I think it’s safe to say we were deserved champions.
Ideally we’d have done it in more emphatic fashion, but the key factor was that we generally delivered in the vital games against the likes of Falkirk and Dundee United.
We’ve had a number of good performers this season. Darren McGregor has been solid at the back and Jason Cummings has been banging in the goals for us, but the one for me who has been really important in the vital games is Marvin Bartley. He doesn’t get the same acknowledgement as others in this team, but he’s played a massive role for us this season. Overall, though, it’s been about the team rather than individuals. As a unit, although we’ve not been particularly spectacular, we’ve looked more solid and harder to beat.
The boost we’ve had from winning the Scottish Cup last year has also been a major factor. Success breeds success, and that day last May has galvanised the support behind the team and meant they’ve stuck with the players this season. It’s imperative that we use the optimism around the club at the moment to kick on and keep building. It might not all be plain sailing, but we’ve given ourselves a great chance of getting back to where we should be – which is up at the top end of the Premiership and challenging for honours and European places. We’re certainly in a better place now than we were three or four years ago.
Three years was too long for a club like Hibs to be in the second tier, so we’re all relieved and excited to finally be heading back to the top flight. The celebrations after Saturday’s game were well deserved for all involved at the end of a testing period for the club.