Tag Archives: Jason Cummings

Hibs: The Last Three Years – Part Two

From Part One;

Then it happened.  At 90+2 Liam Henderson drifted in a corner that club captain, David Gray headed into the net.  Hibs were on the brink of history.

A footballing miracle.  Hibs had dumped that 114-year hoodoo. We’d won the Scottish Cup.  At last, at last, at last.

Hibs fans ran onto the pitch.

What an amazing moment it was when the final whistle blew and 114-years of waiting became no more. We were Hibs, we were the Scottish Cup holders 2016.  It was ours.  If anyone expected our fans to stay in their seats they need to re-evaluate the passion that we have for our club.

In England, promotion and cup wins (particularly against difficult opponents) always bring on a surge of fans who are merely on the pitch to celebrate.  They are there looking to thank their favourite player and hopefully get a selfie with them.  They are taking pictures to remember that incredible day.

In Scotland, fans coming onto the pitch seems to consitute a “riot”.  At least, that’s how the media portrayed it and the SFA didn’t say it was anything else.  Perhaps if The Rangers fans remained in their seats (or left the ground) then less would have been made of this.

Hibs fans had to put up with headlines claiming that all of The Rangers players had been assaulted.  Despite evidence to the contrary there has not been one apology to Hibs or Hibs fans for this claim.  The article remains on line. 

The Rangers wanted an apology from us but thankfully they never got it.  Rod Petrie was right when he said we were exuberant and that we entered the pitch with no malice.

Yet, almost a year to the day we broke our hoodoo, Police Scotland and the SFA are treating this as if it was the worst moment ever in football.  It was not.  If The Rangers fans had not entered the pitch it would have been a beautiful moment.  There was no The Rangers players attacked, not one.  Not one person has been charged with attacking a The Rangers player.  Hibs should be given an apology at least.

Anyway, despite the attempts of certain parts of the media and the official organisation, Hibs fans  – and players – were euphoric.  114-years is a long time to wait for a cup but it’s what

Petrie explaining things, namely exuberance and no malice

Hibs had done and now it was over.  No one was taking that away from us.

Leith partied until the early hours of Sunday morning.  Fans waited at Easter Road for a chance to applaud the returning heros.  Then they’d return to pubs and carry on celebrating.  House parties erupted.  This was our moment, we’d taken our chance and we’d done it.

Of course, Leith wasn’t the only area that partied, across the city, the country, the world people celebrated but the home of the club bounced that night.  I woke with bruises I have no idea how I got and I didn’t even stay out that late.  We just celebrated.

Sunday May 22nd.  Another huge day.  The cup would be paraded from the city chambers to Leith Links.  This was something that we’d waited on so long that it was never going to be a quiet event.

Estimates said that over 100,000 Hibees attended the parade and I feel privileged to be a mere one of them.  I was with the bus most of the way.  I loved it.  The players singing our songs.  It was a huge afternoon.  I can write the words I feel about winning the Scottish Cup but, in print, I’ll never be able to fully describe it with the passion it deserves.

However, as much as we loved it there was a harsh reality to face up to.  Stubbs left us and we loved him and would never stop but now we had a challenge to bring in a new manager (or head coach).  This appointment would going to be a big one because the season 2016/17 was always going to be about promotion.

In June 2016 Neil Lennon was unveiled as the new Hibs head coach.  There were mixed reactions to this but one thing couldn’t be denied – Neil Lennon is a winner.  He knows how to win trophies.  His appointment created something of a seethe from certain fans of other teams.

Lennon would bring in Grant Holt in June 2016, Andrew Shinnie on a season long loan from Birmingham City, Brian Graham from Ross County on a free and Israeli goalkeeper, Ofir Marciano in August.  Marciano’s arrival was held up by red tape but finally he was able to begin his season long loan from Ashdod at the end of August.

Injuries would leave us struggling a bit mid-December.  Neil Lennon did what anyone else with connections would do, he used the emergency loan rule.  Social media went into a melt down, fans forums exploded (you know the fans I’m talking about here) and as Kris Commons was secured on a short term emergency loan we would be accused of cheating and a whole host of other things.  However, in his five appeances for us he scored two goals and filled the gap we had perfectly.

Chris Humphrey joined us on 31st December 2016, his Hibernian career would halt in February when a calf injury saw him out for weeks, only just returning to training in the last fornight or so.

Brian McLean signed at the beginning of March on a short contract.

The second social media meltdown happened at the end of February 2017 when Neil used his contacts to secure Efe Ambrose on loan until the end of the season.  Lenny perfectly within his, and our, rights to use the emergency loan rule in this way.  The entire season the goal has been promotion but niggly injuries were leaving us weak at times so Efe and his triple-back flip celebrations were more than welcome.

We played some tiresome football all season but the results were coming in.  Too many draws but the points were building up nicely.  Enough to keep us ticking along.  We had some concerns about Dundee United, Falkirk, Raith Rovers for a while and Morton when they had a surge.  They would all, in their own way, slip.  Raith Rovers right down to second bottom of the league (currently).

Going out of the league cup as early as we did was a disappointment but it gave us a run of just league games which was helpful.  A couple of challenge cup games and we were out of that leaving us with just the league to play for and…the Scottish Cup.

We were still celebrating the 21st of May when we joined the Scottish Cup on 21st January 2017.  Bonnyrigg Rose at Tynecastle, and 8-1 win for us.

Shinnie scoring the third goal at ER helping to put Hearts out the Scottish Cup Feb 2017

The draw was made for the fifth round. Hearts at Tynecastle…again.  Hearts, of course, thought they would win it.  Hearts of course were wrong but we wouldn’t win it either.  The match could hardly get going thanks to a terrible pitch.  Everyone struggled.  This one finished 0-0 and, in a repeat of the year before we would take Hearts back to Easter Road and we’d beat them.  Jason setting the tone with his goal in two minutes.  Holty added on 37 and Shinnie on 67.  Hearts would get one back three minutes later but the work was done, we’d put Hearts out the Scottish Cup AGAIN.  It was bliss.

The support gained an extra boost and the song became “Here we go, two in a row”.  The song had been sung before but it gained momentum.  Sung everywhere we went whether it be home or away, league or cup game – it joined our ever growing songlist.

The feeling of belief was rife.  Easter Road felt charged every home game and the large travelling support did everyone proud, singing their way through matches.  For months it had felt great to be a Hibby and that feeling was getting better and better.

We beat Ayr United in the quarters at Easter Road on the 4th of March.  Something of a relief as we’d only managed a draw at Easter Road with them a mere month before.  We’d set up a semi-final against Aberdeen at Hampden (Easter Road West if you prefer).  Happy days.  Our third Scottish Cup semi in three years.  We’re liking the Scottish Cup these days.

However, business to be done before then.  The league had to be won.  Really done and dusted before the semi final.

We did it by the skin of our teeth the week before the semi, on Saturday 15th of April.  We needed to win and we needed St Mirren to either beat Falkirk or hold them to a draw.  In previous years I would have rolled my eyes, Hibs never get that sort of luck so Falkirk would probably hammer St Mirren.

There was a nervous energy around Easter Road.  We were doing our bit, 3-0 in 48 minutes with QotS not looking like they were coming back but we were focussed on what was happening at the Falkirk stadium.  St Mirren had gone ahead twice and Falkirk had levelled twice. Our final whistle had gone but barely a soul moved in Easter Road.  Don’t get a late winner!

Then it came through, final result 2-2 at Falkirk.  HOORAY! We’d done it, we won the league, we won the league!  Sunshine on Leith! We’re going back up to where Hibs belong.

There not really much to say about the semi.  We lost.  It was a fantastic cup run full of great times and two in a row would have been fabulous but it wasn’t to happen.  We’d achieved our season goal and got automatic promotion.  Job done.

To go back to what I was saying on Part One, it’s strange feeling I’ve got because we’ve had three cracking years really.  We’ve rebuilt, we’re strong again.  This is a Hibs I enjoy watching.  A lot has changed, attitudes being one thing, but just overall we’ve spent three years in the Championship focussing on everything that was wrong and making it right.  We’re not perfect but we’re ready for the new challenge next season.  It feels like, as much as Leeann, Stubbsy and Lenny (and everyone else behind the scenes) have helped rebuild the club, that the fans have contributed just as much to bringing this club back to the Premiership.  The outstanding support, the increase in ST sales, the travelling support, all there boosting the team and showing that if you give us something, Hibs, we will give you a whole lot back.

Saturday 6th of May 2017 we’ll run out at Easter Road for our last game in the Championship.  We’ll hoist the Championship cup high and we’ll celebrate – again – the achievements of the last three seasons.

We’re back where we belong.  Next season is going to be a biggie.  Fixtures due out Friday 23rd June.

GGTTH

Can’t forget We Are Hibs by Graeme Hunter

 

 

Hibs: The Last Three Years – Part One

I wasn’t sure what to write about given that I wasn’t in Ayr on Saturday and haven’t really seen much footage of it.  It was a good win.  A good shut out for Ross Laidlaw and the team.  It’s also landed us on 70 points, not Hearts nor Rangers have 70 points this season.  Only Livingston (78) and Celtic (94) have more points than us across the leagues.  Pretty good.  Aberdeen could reach it but no one else will.

Anyway, I have a strange feeling at the moment.  While delighted to be receiving the Championship Trophy on Saturday coming, I’ve also got a little sense of loss.

It’s nothing to do with going out in the semi of the cup.  I coped with that.  As most of us did.  It’s more to do with feeling like we’ve just said goodbye to three incredible years.  We’re moving on and a new chapter is opening.

The relegation was a sore day.  A very sore one.  On a day when Malpas tried to fight with fans in the crowd and Hibs threw away a two goal advantage at home.  It was just awful.  A truly devastating day in the history of this beautiful club.

Then there came hope.  Leeann Dempster could have changed her mind about coming to the club, we weren’t in the prem any more and she could have walked away.  She didn’t, she saw there was work to be done and I’m glad she wanted to take on the task.

Picking Alan Stubbs was a good decision.  I glance at my replica Scottish Cup almost every day and thank Leeann for not landing us with Ian Cathro.  We’d have probably been in league two by now if she had.

There was a feeling amongst Hibs fans that this might just be the kick up the arse we needed.  We DID need to rebuild and we did HAVE to have a good look at ourselves.  We’d partied about Hearts getting relegated yet we’d slipped down with them.  Time to get the mirror out and have a good look at ourselves.

We had competition in the league.  Hearts had been relegated as well and Rangers were floating about.  In my heart I wanted us to go straight back up but in my head I was saying we might not.  We had to rebuild literally from scratch.  It would have been a fairytale to have gone straight back up but it didn’t happen.

It was a season of mixed fortunes.  Some memorable wins over Rangers including the 4-0 win at Easter Road Christmas present on the 27th of December.  Wins over Hearts as well.  Silly losses to Queen of the South and Raith Rovers.  Stubbs was doing well.  He’d brought in our current captain, Sir David Gray, Fraser Fyvie and Liam Fontaine who are still with us as well as Malonga, Farid el Alagui and Scott Allan.  Malonga did well but didn’t settle properly although has the club in his heart.  Farid was unlucky with his injury and Scott Allan was great for us, would have flourished with us but chose the money and headed along the M8 to Celtic.

His Celtic career never took off and he’s out on loan to relegated Rotherham.  If ever a footballer chose to finish his own career it would be him.  Too big for Championship Hibs.  Look at us now, you probably should have stayed, Scott.  Of course, I don’t blame him entirely, he just had the wrong advice.  A money hungry agent, no doubt.

We finished that season second in the Championship.  Disappointing? Yes.  We went through the playoff and lost.  Dreadful.  Yet we’d gotten to the quarter final of the League Cup and the semi final of the Scottish Cup.  Was it really that bad a season? We’d come a long way under Alan Stubbs.  We couldn’t really complain about that.

Season 2015/2016 was a biggie.  Liam Craig moved on, the captain hadn’t impressed.  Malonga was on his way.

The in door opened and James Keatings crossed the city to join us, Martin Boyle joined us on a contract, Marvin Bartley arrived from Leyton Orient, John McGinn came to us from St Mirren and we welcomed him with open arms, Dylan McGeouch made the move from Celtic and then the signing of Darren McGregor.  Life long Hibs fan, he’d been released from Rangers.  We brought him home.  He belonged at Easter Road.

Just some of the amazing deals that would be done that season.  Stubbs was preparing for a huge season.

There were some stupid losses in the league that season.  A 2-1 defeat at Dumbarton right at the start of the season.  A 1-0 defeat at Ibrox not long after, that should have been our game.

We picked up Liam Henderson on loan from Celtic in August and he would be ours for the season.

For the second season running we went out the challenge cup early but that wasn’t our focus.  Our focus was promotion but somehow, as we focussed on that we ended up going on two cup runs, the League and the Scottish.

On that run we punted teams from all leagues aside.  Hearts would have us at Tynecastle and then go two nil up in the Scottish.  Paul Hanlon and Jason Cummings would take the party back to Easter Road where Jason would win the tie.

We would be in the League Cup Final only to be defeated 2-1 by Ross County.  Annoying, yes.

Our league performances faltered and closing in to the Scottish Cup semi we lost our keeper to an apprent contact lens ban.  We were stuck with a goalkeeping nightmare.  Until Conrad Logan hit the radar.  Suffered a bad injury, unfit but available, Alan Stubbs said yes.

How we love that Stubbsy said yes.  Clearly unfit, Logan took to the Hampden pitch for the semi final against Dundee United.  He was mocked.

What Conrad Logan showed was that you can be unfit but if you have a clear footballing mind you can win.  He was like a cat around his goal. He had a keepers eye and he showed that in the penalties. He was class in a fairly large glass.  Hibs were in the final.

Hibs hadn’t been able to account for themselves in the league and finished third, another year in the Championship.  However, we were in the Scottish Cup Final against new promoted Rangers.  We knew how to beat them.  We just had to do it in this game.

Anthony Stokes, a loan player from Celtic since January, had failed to woo me in five months.  I could see no reason why this would change on the 21st of May 2016.

On that sunny day in May, almost a year ago, Stokes ran out at Hampden with one clear goal in mind – Beat Rangers.  It was written all over him and it leaked out to his team-mates.  Nothing showed more intent than his two goals, the first at three minutes and his second to level the team as they’d gone behind to Rangers.  2-2 at eighty minutes.  It was headed for extra time.

Then it happened.  At 90+2 Liam Henderson drifted in a corner that club captain, David Gray headed into the net.  Hibs were on the brink of history.

A footballing miracle.  Hibs had dumped that 114-year hoodoo. We’d won the Scottish Cup.  At last, at last, at last.

Hibs fans ran onto the pitch.

 

Red cards and handbags at Tannadice but Hibs win, the league is ours

In all honesty I have no idea where to start with this blog.  After watching Dundee Utd v Hibs I am under no illusions who is the better team (Hibs – natch) but what a game.  What a refereeing disaster.

I’ll admit to nerves going into this game.  Hibs Cup performances of late have been off the park but our leagues games have not been great.  Scrappy, perhaps.

The hope was that Hibs would channel their inner cup into the league on Friday evening and, to be fair, they did.  Cannot argue with that.  Hibs ran out at Tannadice with a win in mind.  Team selection was perfect, for me, and good that Darren McGregor was back in there after his cup suspension last weekend.

Referee Don Robertson started off well but finally lost it.  He started off the game more or less good but as it got more aggressive he lost control.  He was let down by his assistants as well, which doesn’t help.  He booked David Gray after missing a blatant yellow on Grant Holt seconds before.  Despite being up with play! He should have given a red card to Dundee United’s Mark Durnan for an elbow to David Gray’s face but despite looking straight at it he failed to pick up on it, and neither did his assistant. Most officials know that David Gray doesn’t go down easily and for him to have travelled before going down says a lot.  In my very humble opinion that was a straight red.

It wasn’t a great performance from Hibs but it was enough.  The gap has opened but we still can’t be complacent because…well, because we are Hibs.  We don’t do easy.  The word Easy doesn’t exist at Hibs or East Mains.  It’s the way it is.  We laaav the challenge really. 😉 We respond to it really.  We’ve some to do but we’ll do it.  We will.

Now Jason.  First yellow for dissent.  Silly really.   Was the ref, Don Robertson, right to give it? Alright, he bounced the ball off the ground and mouthed a bit but would a more experieneced referee just have cautioned him?

Second yellow.  Jason did something that looked like a Superman into the goal and sadly his hand reached the ball before his head.  No idea what was going through his head there.  It’s a Jason thing but if he’d only kept his hand down his nut was connecting with the ball.  It might not have went in but he’d not have went in either!

Jason though.  He has his mad moments.  There is no doubt that Neil Lennon will have told him how, exactly, he feels about that red card.  In covering his card suspension we have Keats and there is no problem for me with Holt and McGinn and, to be fair, the rest of the team clicking in.

As much as many went ‘wtf’ at the red card, Jason scored the goal that won us the game.  It’s difficult to be angry at the lad for long.  He’s playing superb football under Lennon and growing a lot as a footballer.

I wouldn’t say we’re on form in the league but we’ve won this game.  We’ve taken them and won 1-0 so that is a lovely three points for us.  The league is ours to lose! And by God we’ll try haha!

In reality I can’t see Hibs losing the league after defeating Dundee United.  It would take a monumental lack of interest and we don’t have this. Dumbarton at home next on the 18th and then Falkirk on the 25th also at home.  Then Morton at home on the 29th in the rescheduled fixture.  Three  must wins to give us something breathing space.  Falkirk still fancy their chances as do Morton (away there on April 8th).  It would be lovely to be able to go into the Scottish Cup semi final with the league in the bag.

SPFL

Hopefully Efe Ambrose has proven himself to Hibs fans.  The coolest man on the pitch at Tannadice and did his job nicely.  He’s not had any “mishaps” (so far) and I think he’s been a great addition to the team. What’s the meme? Efe little thing is gonna be alright.

I’ve noticed there seems to be something of a seethe going on about Neil Lennon’s connections to Celtic.  The seethe comes from other teams fans.  Not Hibs fans.  Forgive me if I am wrong but part of being a manager/head coach is having connections and Lennon will have many through his time as a player and a manager.  So, yes, if we’ve got injury problems it makes sense to use those connections and bring in decent players.  Doesn’t it? Perhaps the seethe is having a manager whose only connection is his laptop? Who knows? Or a new manager who seems a bit partial to your great rivals?

Anyway, back to Hibs.  It’s in our hands now.  Our fans are a different class at the moment and that is undoubtedly helping the team.  We’re asking them to do a job and they are doing it and we’re doing ours.

GGTTH

 

 

 

 

Second fifth round Derby defeat puts Hibs in charge of the City

I’d been buzzing all week for this derby.  Whatever I’ve been doing it’s been there in my mind, somewhere in my mind there was a rendition of Hibs, Hibs or Here We Go, Two in a Row going on.  I was also singing Hibs, Hibs but using other words like “Clips, Clips” and when at home in my freezer “Chips, Chips”. Continue reading

We’ve only bloody won it!

“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.

Continue reading

Hibs in the play offs. Here we go, here we go, here we go!

Here we go, here we go, here we go! Into the play-0ff quarter-final we go.  Not ideal but it is what it is and we have to deal with that.

Hibs did nothing wrong on Sunday.  We won the match and on a different day we’d have been dancing about like Carlton.

Sadly, Falkirk won theirs to and they finished second but on goal difference only.  Which made us third on goal difference only.

It was the players I felt for, they really pushed themselves on Sunday as they have for the majority of the season and I thought they didn’t getting the ending they deserved.  However, every single one of them will fight tooth and nail for promotion, I have no worries about that.

pink lady

Missing

So, a twelve-thirty kick-off so Rangers could manage a draw at St Mirren Park live on TV it was.  I’ll admit to hitting the snooze button more than once in the morning.  Then when I did get up I had the usual rush and left the house half awake and roasting hot hoping that I’d packed everything I needed.  This included a pack of already sliced Pink Lady apple which was definitely in my bag when I left the house.

The steward at the ground asked me to open my rucksack and asked what was in my bag.  Water, soda water with orange in it, trousers…then he felt my bag asking if I had any cans in it.  I assured him not and then he said he’d have to smell my bottles.  I though in the name of the wee man, I am bursting for the latrine. So I handed him my bottle of soda water and orange whilst warning him that it was fizzy and had been in my bag, too late, he’d started to opening it…he asked me to finish opening it whilst wiping liquid from his hands onto his jacket.  I opened it and he sniffed it. I doubt he smelled anything, only my lip gloss.

Next was my Britta filter bottle.  You know the type, filter goes in the lid, fill it with water and Bob’s your uncle as you drink it it gets filtered.  Genius.  So I was a bit concerned when he asked to smell that.  I’m sure if I wanted to sneak in a bottle of vodka I wouldn’t pick a Britta filter bottle but hey ho.  Once I’d packed up my bag again he thanked me, more than once.  Honestly, I was working Sunday, so not sure why I would be sneaking drink into the ground.  I wouldn’t anyway though sometimes I advocate bars in the ground…

Anyway.  Sir Alan of Stubbs started off with a team that had Jason Cummings on the bench and a start for hatrick hero James Keatings.  Conrad Logan kept the gloves and Liam Fontaine made a start as well.  Niklas Gunnarsson also kept his start as well.  He’s a player I really value.  He’s fast, he works hard and he sneaks about so while teams think they have him covered he just pops up elsewhere and does the job.  Like today when he scored our opener in the 67th minute.  He is the one player I would say is mostly unlikely to score, yet he does.  Not always but he’s capable.

Iain Russell moan

Moan of the Match Iain Russell

Man of the Match went to Hibs Liam Henderson but Moan of the Match should go to QotS’s Iain Russell.  That lad moaned about absolutely everything.  Still, he got a good telling off from the West stand with the best shout being “Shut up you!” which everyone agreed with.  That was after Russell said “hey you” to the linesman, “he was pulling my shirt”.  Stop greeting lad, he should have pulled the shirt over your head and given us all peace.

Jason gave us our second goal thirteen minutes after he replaced Fraser Fyvie.  A lot of people are doubting JC at the moment but I can’t.  This is a lad that has visibly grown as a player under Stubbs.  He tries his absolute hardest everytime he’s on the pitch and now he’s fighting for his place he comes on as a sub and works hard.  He makes mistakes, show me a player who doesn’t, but he knows what he’s being asked to do and he does it more often than not.

I’m an Oxley fan but I’m glad Conrad Logan has the gloves at the moment.  Showing Ox that he’s not automatically first choice means he needs to up his game to get back into the starting gloves.  Conradge hasn’t had much to do in the last two games but he’s eyes on the game all the time and never loses concentration, a very good thing going into the play-offs.  I would stick with him.

So here we go.  We’ve all paid our money and we’re about the get on the Hibernian Play Off Rollercoaster.  We need to beat Raith at Starko Parko and then again at Easter Road and then go on to play Falkirk home and away.  I know wins aren’t necessary in all the games it would be nice.  We don’t need extra minutes in both fixtures before the final.

green rollercoaster

The Hibernian rollercoaster, jump on for an exciting ride!

As for the Pink Lady apple pack I never saw them again.  I searched high and low but that little packet of apple slices has gone.  So I do apologise to the person who will find a packet of fusty apple slices in the next few days…

Anyway, back to the football.  I believe we can do this.  It’s not beyond us.  But we have to get behind the team and support them.  We have to let them know we are there and there is no better way of doing that than filling Easter Road on Saturday.  I don’t think asking £15 is a lot to ask for.  Get behind the team! My seat is booked and paid for.  I won’t let them down and I’m sure they won’t let us down.

The Hibernian rollercoaster never stops.  Pay the money and get on! It’s a helluva ride!