“Stokesy’s on fire, your defence is terrified!”
A chant that pretty much tells the story of last Saturday. Anthony Stokes hasn’t over impressed me since his signing but if I had any doubts about him they were gone on Saturday. Stokesy was saving the best for last. He was like a man possessed and Rangers couldn’t pin him down. He wanted that cup on Saturday and he was going to get it.
The entire team were superb, there is no doubting that and they deserve to go down as legends in Hibernian history. They ended 114-years of agony. The taunting from our city rivals has stopped. There’s nothing to say now. Since they beat us 1-5 they haven’t got passed us in the cup, this season apparently ‘hibsing it’ in the fifth round where they were 2-0 up at Tynecastle with ten minutes to go…but Jason Cummings and Paul Hanlon had other idea, finished the game 2-2 and took the tie to Easter Road where Jason would score the only goal of the match and decide the tie, Hibs went matching on.
We faced a quarter-final against Inverness Caley Thistle. The tie at Easter Road ended 1-1 and we faced a hard replay up in Inverness but we took it 1-2 and progressed onto the semi-final where we would meet Dundee United. We’d played them before in the season in the League Cup and knocked them out. They were sitting at the bottom of the SPL, basically relegated but their recent form had picked up so nothing was guarateed.
We also went into that game with Oxley suspended but the club had picked up Conrad Logan. With Leicester for fourteen years, he was released last year and spent time in the football abyss until the Hibs call came. He took Oxley’s place in the semi-final and my word, what a job he did. Unfit, he would admit that, but with the eye who knows the game he was like lightening.
The tie ended 0-0 after normal time and because it was the semi it went to extra time but nothing could separate the teams and it went to penalties. This was where Conrad Logan would really earn a place in Hibernian hearts. He’d made at least four cracking saves during 120 minutes of play but he saved United’s first two penalties which basically saw us through and the passion he expressed after the win was something else. Other teams fans can mock him for not being fit but when you look at him he has a fantastic footballing brain and if he’d like that when not fit, what’s he going to be like when fit? And whoever decided to call him to come and join Hibs needs a drink bought for them.
The final was something else. We knew we could be them, we’d done so only a few weeks before but we needed to do it on the big stage with as many of their fans as ours. The atmosphere was always going to be charged, sparking electrics. Barely settled to the seats and Stokes had us 0-1 up in the 3rd minute. Hello? What? Right we’ll take this but we need to build on it because there is still 87 minutes to go.
The lead went as Kenny Miller levelled on 27 minutes. Right, OK, don’t panic. It’s just an equaliser.
Half time 1-1. That’s fine.
Second half of a truly fantastic match and Andy Halliday spoils the day with a goal on 64 minutes making it 2-1 for them. I will admit to thinking that was it. Again. That’ll be 115 years without the cup and would I ever see it in my life time.
My head went down but thankfully the team’s did not. Stokesy on fire rammed in a goal on the 80th minute. 2-2. Could we do this? Could we beat Rangers and lift the Scottish Cup?
Of course we bloody could. Thanks to sub Liam Henderson lifting in a perfect corner captain David Gray headered the ball right into the back of the net and WE’D WON THE SCOTTISH CUP!
There are no words as to what this means to Hibernian supporters. It’s a feeling. It’s simply amazing. It’s pride in the club. It’s how the team played for the badge and got us what we so badly wanted. It’s the love of a game that has so many highs but many more lows. It’s about sticking with the club despite still being in the Championship. It’s about a superb attitude and a head coach who knows his players inside and out. It’s about team work. It’s about belief. It’s about perseverance.
We did it.