Well, Hibbys, not to be I’m afraid.
Before I start this blog can I ask you, dear reader, to remember back a fortnight when I cut the blog short because of an injury to my finger. Well, that injury healed nice and well and I was able to not even have a dressing on. However, on Friday night I was slicing pickled and whoooosh, right through the nail and off went a bit of the finger. I was going nowhere near the hospital on a Friday night so I dealt with it myself. I have a great big clumpy dressing on it. So, please, if there are more than usual typos I do apologise.
So, Hibs went along to Easter Road West on Saturday for the first semi-final of the BetFred Scottish League Cup. Thanks to a 1215 kick off most Hibs fans had to get up before they actually fell asleep in order to make the journey from all parts of the country and beyond.
On Twitter, a couple of days prior to the semi-final, there seemed to be a lot of bleating because we didn’t sell our allocation. I never thought we would. Not with the prices as they were. I’m not going to make excuses for people because I could end up going on for hours. Most of the bleating was from fans of other teams but there were a few Hibbys at it. Honestly, folk can’t win. Had we sold out our allocations there would have been folk asking how many of those fans are glory-hunters. Just can’t win, really.
Personally, I’m not with Lennon at the moment. This doesn’t mean I want rid of him, it just means I’m not sure of his thinking. I’ve said it before but Simon Murray can’t get his form back if he’s keeping the bench warm. There’s no need for him to be there but there he stays. It’s not as if we’ve got another striker (or anyone) out there banging the goals in that is keeping him away from starting. He didn’t even get a whisper of a chance on Saturday. I feel it’s time for Lennon to give him a chance again.
First half of the semi-final was a bit dodgy. I don’t think we played very badly, we just weren’t at it straight away. It wasn’t nerves, how could it be? We play half our games at Hampden haha. No, it wasn’t nerves, we just lost it a bit.
A good thing happened though. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking this. We went two down and I didn’t think ‘well, that’s it.’ It was annoying, yes, and we could have done better but the faith was there.
I was a bit dubious about Lennon’s double change at half time but it worked, I suppose. Of course, the penalty helped and Stokes fired us back into the game fourteen minutes after the restart. He’s taken a bit of flack since signing. Only a little bit of it is deserved, in my humble opinion, because when I watched him I see a lot of effort and a lot of work going on.
The second half was amazing. Fans of other teams might guffaw loudly at this, but I believe we’ve been the only team to really push Celtic this season, so far. Brendan Rodgers has acknowledged that after the league game. That’s what the SPL needs.
Anyway, I’ve had a lot of belief in Oli Shaw for a long time and today I felt justified in that. A cracking goal to mark his first goal for the senior team. What a day for him, despite the loss, and only just on as well. He also made it 2-3 and put us in with a chance with twenty minutes to go.
A brace each from Lustig and Dembele meant we’re not going to the final next month but guess what? We had a great day. We partied and we supported our team and that’s what it’s all about. We were pissed right off after the Aberdeen game but that faded into the past to support the team in the semi-final.
Hanlon was great on Saturday but Ross Laidlaw went a bit bombscare which may result in him losing the gloves for Tuesdays derby game. This is not a problem. We’ve two good ‘keepers and it’s kind of nice to see them compete for the privilege of taking the gloves for a match.
Now onto the first derby of the season. It’s not going to be easy. It shouldn’t be easy because it is a derby, it should be a big challenge. Whether it will be or not is another story. I’m not saying we’re going to win but I hope we do. We need to put the semi-final right our heads.
In conversation with a Jambo he made reference to us not using 10,000 of our seats (after I had asked him to make sure our seats weren’t nicked on Tuesday to solve their seating issue). So I think Hearts fans are in for a bit of a shock. I don’t know how many seats they are allowed to sell at Murrayfield but their attendance at the rugby home on Saturday was still lower than our home game versus Aberdeen last Saturday. And Saturdays game was a home match. Murrayfield holds about 67,000. Just saying.
Of course, they’re keen to point out that they’ve just leaped us in the table – while also forgetting that we’ve a game in hand because we were actually part of another competition.
BRING IT ON!
Oh and p.s. here’s the thanks from the club.
Hibernian FC today thanked the 11,000 supporters who travelled to Hampden to back the team in the semi-final of the Betfred League Cup, despite the early kick-off and the match being shown live on television.
The fans were vocal throughout the hard-fought encounter, backing the team from start to finish, and contributed significantly to the atmosphere of the occasion.
The team and the Club were delighted that the supporters stayed on till the end of the match to show their own appreciation of the effort made by Neil Lennon’s squad, despite the ultimate disappointment of missing out on a place in the final to Celtic.