I didn’t go to Dumbarton on Saturday. By the time I’d faffed around and decided that, yes, I would like to go, there were no tickets left. I could have went on the hunt for any bought by people who couldn’t go etc but that seemed an effort.
So I wasn’t there to see Jason scoring a penalty on his 100th start for Hibernian. A few people have said it’s a bit poor we didn’t put more past them but I’m willing to guess Dumbarton were very defensive and not scoring more wasn’t for the want of trying. The game was won, three points in the bag, not lost a game in our first five league games. Even Celtic are only four out of four in the SPL and in the EPL Manchester City are only four out of four.
Now, I know immediately what people will say to that last couple of sentances and it will go along the lines of “it’s the Scottish Championship blah blah”. Well, yes I do know that. It’s not about what league it is it’s about the team mentality and Hibs are in a very good place at the moment.
I didn’t see them play on Saturday but I know they gave their all, I don’t have to ask anyone about that, I know it because it’s how Hibs are at the moment. Five out of five can’t be dismissed because of the league we’re in, we’ve been there for a full two seasons now and didn’t win our first five in a row. No, this is a different Hibs.
Alan Stubbs will never be forgotten at Easter Road, the most obvious reason is that we are the holders of the Scottish Cup. Alan Stubbs built a team and a mentality that meant on the 21st of May 2016, instead of our heads going down when we went 2-1 down, we kept them up and Stokes (who most definitely was on fire) made us level and Captain Fantastic* finished off a fantastic delivery from Liam Henderson.
The other reason Stubbs will be remembered is that he took a broken team and he fixed it. When you look back at what he had to work with when he took over after that shocking relegation by…dare I say it…Terry Butcher to where Hibs were on the 21st May, the man worked wonders. He took a group of lads that had just been relegated and had seen their teammates sacked for no apparent reason and he turned them around.
He wasn’t alone of course, he had his team and we also had Leeann Dempster. A woman who could have walked away after we were relegated but didn’t, who had committed herself to Hibs and was going to do a job. Hibs suddenly became more open with supporters. Anger towards Butcher was being turned into hope.
With the team, Stubbs had little time to get a team together but he tried and when working with the players he turned a negative attitude in the squad, caused by Butcher, into a positive “you can do it” attitude. It was easily seen just a few weeks after Stubbs took over.
This lasted, it wasn’t a temporary thing and it was wonderful to see, Hibs team united. If there were dressing room bust ups going on then it wasn’t evident to the public. Pictures emerging from the training ground and Tweets between the players suggested that even if he did nothing else, Alan Stubbs had united the changing room and it was there to last.
Despite not going up that first season he was in charge there were lots of positive to take. Promotion was the key in the 2015/2016 season. It wasn’t achieved. Of course, the season couldn’t be called a failure. We got to the League Cup Final and to be honest, I am annoyed we didn’t win that but we didn’t so we have to move on.
On May the 21st though, the disappointment ended. After 114 years we lifted the Scottish Cup and ended the Jambos entire song book. History was made.
Although gutted that he left, I think Stubbs left at the right time. He will always be a legend at Hibernian because he brought us the Scottish Cup. The disappointment of not being promoted was massively overshadowed by winning the Scottish Cup. Would I have taken promotion over the Scottish Cup? Would I hell. Bringing that Cup back to Easter Road is bigger than promotion in my eyes and in the eyes of many, many Hibees.
However, season 2016-2017 was always going to be about promotion and Stubbsy hadn’t delivered that to us and there was no indication he would. So, it was a tearful farewell just days after the Cup Final Weekend. He had turned us around. You’re forever in our hearts and our history Mr Alan Stubbs.
I would admit openly that I wasn’t over the moon about the appointment of Neil Lennon. When he was at Celtic I really did not like him and when he managed there I did loathe him. I thought him sour faced and bitter. Of course, at that point no one really knew what was going on. I won’t dwell on it but the death threats and the general way he was treated while at Celtic was a disgrace.
Despite not doing that well at Bolton (not his fault) it gave everyone a chance to see the real Neil. He was more relaxed, he joked. When he appeared as a pundit he was humorous, he spoke about football with a passion that I, personally, hadn’t seen before. I softened towards him.
When Stubbs left I knew in my head that Lennon would replace him. It wasn’t any inside knowledge, I just knew. I wasn’t 100% behind going for him but I knew he was going to be the best choice for us. I said from the start of the process of finding a new manager that he would be it and he did become our manager.
For reasons I can’t even really explain, I was still sceptical of Neil Lennon’s appointment. Perhaps it was because of who he was taking over from. I don’t know. Anyway, I told anyone who would listen that he would have to prove himself.
The great that Stubbs did for Hibs will never be forgotten but there was one thing he didn’t do and that was to make the Hibs team tough. He’d got them not giving up but he hadn’t made them into a tough team. Take nothing away, he made them a team. He did that part.
It would Lennon who would instill toughness in them and he’s done it. I didn’t see it in the European game but I have seen it in the league games. While Stubbs brought about a never give up attitude, Lennon has built on that and instilled a “don’t be afraid” attitude. Go in for the tackles, don’t back off, boss the opposition. It’s worked.
He’s also brought in some good signings for this new era of Hibs. He’s taken what Stubbs built and he’s thought it was pretty good and added his own stamp.
There’s a Hibs team out there who have a “won’t be beaten” attitude and I think it’s marvellous. It’s what we’ve needed for a long time. So when we go up next year the credit will go to Lennon, as it should, but we should never forget that Alan Stubbs started the rebuild. This is a new era for Hibs, we’re having a great time and anyone who puts us down simply doesn’t know.
And just because it never gets old…
I’m saddened by the events that took place at Parkhead, now apparently known as Celtic Park. Rangers took a whipping in the first derby between the two teams, a 5-1 win for Celtic. That all appears to have taken a back seat though as pictures emerged of the wrecking of a toilet facility in the Parkhead away end. Annoyed enough about that, I found out on Sunday morning that some Celtic fans had decided it was a good idea to take blow up sex dolls and tie their hands behind their backs and Rangers scarves around their necks before hanging them with a rope from a tier.
Celtic fans got together and decided it was nothing about the sad death of Scott Boyd, they decided it was more about the death of Rangers as a club in 2012. It doesn’t matter what it was about, it was just a disgrace and if you are the person that thought this was a good idea you might now know that you’re the scum of the earth.
As for the Rangers fans who wrecked the away toilets in Parkhead, what the hell did you think you were bringing to Scottish Football? Got beat, wrecked the toilets. Got your club a big bill and likely a big fine. This from the fans of the club and the club itself who got all high and mighty about Hibs pitch invasion on winning the Scottish Cup. The worst we done then was to demolish a goal frame that was replaced the next day and turn over a bit of turf that was, again, sorted by the next day. I’ve had Rangers fans saying we caused £500k of damage that day and yet they say not a word about demolishing a toilet. Roof ripped down, cubicles torn apart and urinals ripped from the wall. I would imagine that’ll cost the Gers much more in damages.
Celtic were actually OK when Rangers were down in the other leagues but they’ve reverted to old. Well, this is not good for Scottish football. While everyone else wants known for their on field antics we have two teams who are happy for them to be known for their off field nonsense. Neither team (at time of writing) has condemned the actions of a part of their support leading everyone else to believe they support it.
A while back the Ugly Sisters had an idea about moving down south. I say go for it. The SFA think we need these two teams. We don’t. Scottish football didn’t suffer when this fixture wasn’t happening and it won’t if they go. Loss of TV revenue? Maybe. Scottish football needs a new start and a rebuild. With the right leads and good people we won’t lose BT, they’ll stay with us.
Conclusion: We won’t miss you Celtic or Rangers. If you want to go on an English adventure then on you go. Every other team in Scotland will work their nuts off to make it work. It’ll take years but we’d do it. So feel free to leave, we don’t need your negative influence. Cheerio xx