Hibs went out the league cup on Wednesday night and as fans we couldn’t be more proud of them.
Now, that might seem like a slightly strange statement to make but it’s entirely true. We’re not proud to be out of the cup, of course, we’re disappointed by that, but the pride comes from a team that has transformed over the last few weeks and finally seem to have broken what ever hex was over us at Easter Road.
A solid performance at Easter Road in the derby with Hearts saw Hibs take all the plaudits, just not the win but who could predict a 40 yard screamer from Ozturk right at the end of the game? No one. However, the result aside, Hibs played the game of their life on Sunday and each player on that pitch should be proud of themselves.
A few short days later and another home game, this time against SPL side Dundee United in the League Cup quarter final. Football under the floodlights. Fantastic.
The game would see Hibs come back from behind three times.
During the first half there were a few errors and perhaps they could have been attributed to nerves and while still good, we lacked some of the dazzle from Sunday. We went into half time 1-2, our goal scorer being Do, Do, Do, Dominique Malonga. The Conga for Malonga being loudly sung by the migrating singing section who have taken the drum down to the lower section of 43 and to good effect.
Stubbs said after the match that he had given the lads a rollicking at half time and whatever he said worked. Hibs came out in the second half positive and tough. They took the game to Dundee United, dominating all over the park. At 57 minutes Jason Cummings levelled the score to 2-2 but a few moments later Dundee United went ahead again and it was 2-3.
Hibs weren’t having it though and kept pushing forward with some exciting play which would eventually see Matt Kennedy score his first goal for us and what a time to do it.
The crowd, by this point, were electrified. The three Hibernian stands singing together and absolutely behind a stunning Hibs team. Long may that last, hearing the support singing together is an amazing sound. It also boosts the team.
Neither team could add to their goal tally and after 90 minutes it ended 3-3 and we were into extra time.
Hibs didn’t let the level drop in extra time and continued to play a solid game. However, neither team could break the deadlock and 30 minutes later penalties happened.
Personally, I don’t like penalties as a way of ending a game but there isn’t a better alternative at this time so this is what we do in different competitions. Unfortunately Hibs lost out in penalties and Dundee United went through to the semi-finals winning 7-6 on pens.
Hibs players dropped to the deck, gutted. Heads were in hands. Disappointment from the team was evident but the fans did an amazing thing. Rather than heading for the exits at speed, the Hibernian fans stayed exactly where they were and showed the team exactly what they thought of them and their performance. Booing? No, not heard all evening. On Wednesday night we cheered that Hibs team off the park. Why? Because they deserved it. Hibs didn’t lose that tie, it was taken from them in penalties. Throughout the entire match they stood up against Dundee United and they didn’t back down and they gave a performance that they should be very, very proud of.
The response of the support after the derby and after Wednesday league cup clash is proof of how much progress that our team has made over recent weeks. From two dreary home ties to Raith Rovers and then Dumbarton to the demolition of Livingston away, then returning home to a stunning performance against Hearts and then again against Dundee United, the hard work of all the players and Alan Stubbs and his team is really beginning to show. Not only show, but shine. And it should shine, because it’s brilliant.
There is credit to be given all round. To Alan Stubbs and his team for persevering and bringing this squad together and bringing out their best with more to come. To the squad for working hard, for not giving up, for not letting their heads drop, for keeping going when things might seem against them. To the support for getting right behind the team and showing them that we do know the improvement is there, the change is happening and we’re right behind it. It was also fantastic to see the Hibs support on Twitter get right behind players who were disappointed at missed penalties. Matty Kennedy scored the goal that took us into extra time, without that we would have gone out in the 90 minutes. I, and most other Hibees, have no issue with his penalty, we’re just chuffed that he got his first goal for the team. May there be many more to come.
There might have only been a crowd of 8,689 at Easter Road on Wednesday night but it sounded and seemed like a full house. That’s the difference the support can make.
Pride restored at Easter Road? Without a doubt.
The boss speaks.