Another cup run, another fifth round meeting with Hearts at Tynecastle, another draw, another replay at Easter Road. Another seethe from Hearts fans who can only come at us with “celebrating a draw”.
Watching on TV Sunday it was clear that Hibs fans were backing our team. The best I have heard in a while. The whole away end singing and backing the team. That’s the difference. That’s what we do. It’s hardly “celebrating a draw” to support your team to the 90th minute.
However, singing in the home stands at Tynecastle appears to be an offence. A few brave souls clad in maroon and white did try a half-hearted attempt before the start of the match but after that it was if they’d all gone home. The difference between Hibs and Hearts at the moment are that Hibs fans are supporting the team. In a key game the fans got out there and backed the team. The team will always respond to that. If there had been a moment in the game that would have seen Hibs heads go down the fans would have lifted them right up again.
The input on matchday that Hearts fans give is dreadful. This is from the “big” team, the one that rules the city. They’re going to outsing us in the replay, apparently. By singing what exactly? They haven’t replaced the song book they lost on the 21st of May 2016 at 90+2. Maybe Ian Cathro can look up some on his magic iPad.
I’ll admit to nerves going into Sunday’s derby but then it’s a derby and I always do have them despite how confident I am. I don’t always agree with everything Neil Lennon does but when the starting XI was put out I knew straight away that this was the best team for this match. From the players he was able to select from he got it spot on (I’m sure he’ll be glad to hear that haha). Derby experience and toughness in there. Only Holty and Marciano having never experienced the Edinburgh derby before but no worries there.
It might have been Cathro and Lennon’s debut derby but Lenny has the advantage of being a player and a manager in the most hated filled of derbies in the west of the country. He’d obviously done his homework on Hearts. They were filled with a bit of confidence after deafeating a terrible Rangers team and ten-man Motherwell.
Hibs were always going to dominate. It was evident from the moment the game started. It’s not that Hearts were dreadful (they were) but that there was very little derby-experienced players in there. Ah well.
It was always going to be hard to play free-flowing football on a pitch that looks like it’s just been dug up for tattie season. I know Anne is desperate to get the money for the new stand but using the pitch for growing spuds has not been one of her better ideas, it has to be said.
In his after match interview Cathro said he would have liked to have seen more free flowing football… On a lumpy pitch, Ian? Really? Did you even take a look at the pitch before thinking up the tactics or did the magic iPad come up with that one?
Hibs were, to a man, great on Sunday lunchtime. No complaints about anyone. Bartley’s back pocket was bulging, Don Cowie will never go near Darren McGregor again, Marciano, just back from a knock, knew exactly where the ball was at the right time. John McGinn taking on two or three at a time, sometimes lost the ball but always got it back. The team flew.
There’s always the threat that Hearts will get their usual penalty and that was the only danger they threatened us with. Their ten minute sparky spell after half time fizzed out easily. Referee Willie Collum was actually pretty fair throughout the match, he picked up on the dirty tactics of a home team who were just way out of their depth.
Holty has his critics, I am not one. He was in the team today to add toughness and it worked. No longer will Hibs be bossed on the pitch. We’ve needed this toughness for a long time and today it was there in abundance and it worked. We have been too soft before and we have lost concentration before but neither was a worry on Sunday.
Meanwhile at Ibrox…
Friday night was interesting. Flicking through Twitter and suddenly there’s a Rangers statement regarding Mark Warburton. Rangers statements are always comedy gold so it was clicked on and read. After that was a complete shambles. Rangers had accepted his resignation, Warburton denied having tendered it. Should have a word with your agent about that Warbs. That’s what happens when you try and sneak a move to another club and send your agent in to speak to your bosses. Despite Rangers JUST getting by Morton on Sunday afternoon (and Morton missed a great chance to take the tie to a replay) the headlines are never about the football at that club.
So on to the replay on the 22nd. A Wednesday evening at 19:45. Football under the lights. If it’s not 3pm on a Saturday it should be mid-week under the lights. We love it. We LOVE it. If any Hearts fan thinks they’re coming to Easter Road to skelp us then think again. We won’t be outsung and you won’t put us out the cup. That honour will be for Ayr.