Tag Archives: neil lennon

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

 

 

Scottish Cup magic ends but the pride in Hibs goes on

“Here we go, two in a row”.

We sung it and we sung it proud because from the very start of this seasons defence of our cup win we believed we could do it.  And why not? We, as a championship team, had won it last season leaving premiership teams in our wake as we headed to the final to break our 114 year Scottish Cup drought.

The season 2016/17 was all about promotion, that was the job given to Neil Lennon and his men.  Automatic promotion was the goal and anything else was a bonus.  This past season the cup would be a bonus.

Then the singing section came up with “here we go, two in a row” and it felt right.  If nothing else then the song built the excitement and the wonder that maybe, just maybe, we could go that far.  It would be immense.

Still, the main aim of the entire season was the automatic promotion.  We didn’t want play offs, we wanted automatic and that’s why we put our faith in Neil Lennon.  He delivered.  Our season was sloppy, too many draws that potentially could have been wins but hey, they could have been losses as well. We did it, we became Champions with games to spare and a semi-final to go into where we could just relax.

Saturday 22nd April 2017.  Thousands of Hibby’s rise at stupid o’clock for a 12.15 kick off at Hampden.  I could launch into a fifteen thousand word essay about these ridiculous kick-off times for the semi’s but who would actually take notice? Not the SFA, not Police Scotland and not Sky Sports.

Personally I had one leg out of my bed for about an hour and I was classing this as being half up.  The sun was shining through the curtains, the brain was saying it was a brilliant day for footy, the body was saying otherwise.  The body was saying “six weeks on a sun lounger in Spain wouldn’t go astray” (long week).

Anyway, it was what it was and the sports channels dictate the times and we had to go with it.  Twenty thousand Hibees would turn up to Hampden to help Hibs defend the Scottish Cup.

Help they did.  Singing from the word go, you’d think there was only one set of fans in the HQ of Scottish football.  Our fans were AMAZING.  Yet that is no surprise.  In recent years we’ve upped our game, we’ve kept the faith and we’ve shown it.  We grumble at times but we always have the right to and the grumbling it usually spot on.  That doesn’t stop us supporting this team to death.

The first minute of the semi-final was a complete nightmare.  No one can deny that.  John McGinn is surrounded, the ball gets taken off him, our defence is a shambles and BANG, inside 15 seconds Adam Rooney puts Aberdeen 0-1 up.

Hibs just hadn’t turned up and we were poor.  It was disappointing because there was no need for us to be poor.  We’ve shone in the cup games in the last two years against opponents with leagues position below us and, more importantly, above us.

The day seemed to get even worse when, in the 25th minute, Maricano made and error that saw him help Ryan Christies shot into the back of the net.  0-2 down and not half an hour gone.

Our opponents from across Edinburgh were quick to jump onto social media to “have a good laugh”, although why they felt they could do that is beyond me.  They have poor memories is what I’m putting it down to.

On the touchline Neil Lennon as clearly…unhappy with the first half an hour and in the 34th he hooked Fraser Fyvie – who was not amused – and brought on Grant Holt instead.  A bold move which would prove crucial as two minutes later Holty put Hibs back in the game and made it 1-2.

Our fans, who had been singing anyway, got louder.  We were back in the game.  Half time came and we’d picked up a bit.  Not a great first half.

The second half we came out and we played.  We stepped up and we played our game. We were more exciting, we took more of the possession and on the hour mark Dylan McGeouch slotted home to put us back on level terms against the second best team in the country.  Unfortunately Dylan sustained an injury which meant he had to be replaced by Andrew Shinnie (facing his brother Graeme).  Dylan has had no luck with injuries lately so let’s hope this isn’t a long term injury.

The fans sang and sang and on the pitch Hibs gave a great account of theirselves and but, for an unfortunate OG by Darren McGregor in the 85th, we were looking towards Extra Time.  Football luck tilted Aberdeens way and it’s them that go through to the final on May 27th.

I personally thought Hibs managed to forget that dreadful first half hour or so and played well for at least all of the second half.  When the final whistle went I was annoyed and disappointed we weren’t through, I was gutted for Darren McGregor but I felt great pride in my team.  In eleven months we’d lifted the Scottish Cup and won our League.  Not bad eh.  In two years we’ve been on two amazing cup runs.  I can live with that, especially dumping Hearts out.  We gave them four chances in two years to dump us out and we all know how that ended up…

This is the reason 20,000 fans stayed to sing their players off the park.  Not boo, there was no need for that, but sing.  Aberdeen fans were well outsung.  It was an amazing feeling.

That’s why I was more than slightly surprised to listen to Lenny’s after match interview with Sky Sports.  Lenny’s grown on me over the season.  I really like him now but to hear him say that the team were “pathetic” and “rubbish” and, in another interview saying that the team were back to their “boy band worst”.  I get his points about the way the first two goals were lost, I understand his point on playing the length of the game and I know he’s a winner who expects to win but sometimes you don’t win.  I wanted to win that match as much as any other fan and as much as he did but sometimes you just don’t win.  Sometimes your team just gets caught out, or loses a goal from an unlucky deflection.  You can play 90 minutes of sexy football but lose because you didn’t get enough goals.  You can play 90 minutes of brain-numbing football and win, we know that this season.  We all know how frustrating this game is.

However, he’s said it, it’s out there and some will agree that he said those things and some will disagree.  What I hope the players really remember about Saturday 22 April 2017 is that, despite it all, 20,000 fans on the losing side sang them off the park because the biggest emotion we have for the team and the club is Pride.

GGTTH

 

 

Third Time Lucky! Hibs are the Championeeeeeees! 🏆

What.  A.  Day.

What a day Saturday was.

Finally, after three long years, Hibs have gained automatic promotion from the Championship to the Scottish Premier League.  We’ve done it.  We’ve actually done it.

What a journey it’s been just over the last three years.  Another bumpy ride on the rollercoaster that is Hibernian, but I wouldn’t choose any other rollercoaster to ride.

There’s no point in rehashing the relegation.  It happened.  It was disappointing but, as one fan said to me on Saturday, it might just have been a good thing.

He had brought his son to his first ever Hibs game (good one to choose!) and they had travelled from Manchester to see it.  He asked us a few questions about how the season had been as he’d not been to many games himself but then he said that when you look back on it there is a thought that Hibs were in a bad place and relegation was probably what we needed.

No doubt.  Leeann Dempster came in and appointed Alan Stubbs et al and there the rebuild started from near scratch.  At the time is was crap.  It felt awful but now, looking back, looking at what we’ve achieved, at the team we’ve become – a winning team – it’s been worth it.  It really has.

Neil Lennon, speaking after Saturday’s game, thanked Alan Stubbs for leaving him an excellent platform to build on.  That’s what it’s been, a re-build and it’s been up and up the whole time.

It’s been a slog at times, no one will deny that.  Chins have been scratched at some performances and results.  Brows have been furrowed at missed chances, slack passes and doubtful shots but hey, here we are, Championship Champions 2016/17.

It’s not been without it’s frustrations, that’s for sure.  This season we’ve had some mixed results and some tedious play on the park, but we’ve done it.  Although, looking at how we played Saturday (we were brilliant, by the way) you just sort of wish we’d played like that all season but it doesn’t matter – because we did it.

The match itself was super.  Queen of the South came out wanting something and really didn’t give up.  Although Marciano made a couple of brilliant saves he wasn’t really called into action for the majority of the game.  Not like his opposite number, Lee Robinson, whose quick thinking stopped the score becoming embarrassing for QotS.

Darren McGregor is, for me, the Player of the Year.  He’s been consistent throughout the season and given 100% every time he was asked to.  He’s living the dream.  Hibernian fan, playing for the team he loves.  Lifts the Scottish Cup with Hibs last season and this season fires a brace that helps his team win the league.  He’s flying.

Saturday’s game was a strange one because after a header from Captain Fantastic put us three-nil up the stadium seemed to go quiet.  Our game was sorted but elsewhere, just along the road really, at Falkirk they were drawing with St Mirren 1-1.

This time of the season always gets me, all this adding up and taking away and how many points for this and that.  I’m not a numbers person really but even I understood that on Saturday we needed to win and there had to either be a draw in Falkirk or or a St Mirren win.  St Mirren did their bit.  What a run of form they had hit in this not being relegated battle.  A few weeks ago I would have said that Falkirk were a cert for this game but going into the three o’clockers on Saturday I felt St Mirren had it in them.  They did.  They took the lead twice to lead 0-1, 1-1, 1-2 and finishing 2-2.  Thank you St Mirren.  We hope Houston’s bright red head of anger didn’t explode causing any injuries.

As I said, the crowd sort of silenced after the third goal.  Not because the game was boring or anything like it, in fact, far from it, it was a good game.  The focus though, was on events in Falkirk and many heads were tipped towards phones, refreshing madly to see who would prevail in Falkirk or would it be a draw? Even when Hibs were on the break there was something of an “aye, aye! We’ve won, wait a minute until my app updates the scores elsewhere!”.

Exuberance Prevention Scheme

Then, of course, came the comedy moment in the match.  Nearing the end the stewards rolled out their Exuberance Prevention Scheme.  We weren’t to go on the pitch, it would seem.  The East stand had the one railing with red and white tape approach.  That was one railing every few feet and red and white tape spanning the gaps.

That’ll work.

Seriously though, what’s the issue here? Down south when a team say in League 2 or League 1 or the Championship gain promotion their fans pile on the pitch to celebrate with the team.  Why is there such nail biting up here about the same thing? If Hibs fans launched themselves onto the pitch today it would have been purely about celebration and nothing else.  No QotS supporter was going to invade the pitch to cause bother, in fact, their support should be applauded.  A good few of them stayed behind to watch the league winning team return to the pitch and clapped when they took their lap of honour past them.  The fact that stewards (yes acting on orders from above somewhere) brought out those tiny barriers and tape was more an encitement, in my view, for fans to leap onto the pitch.

On the funny side, if you’ve never heard a stadum full of football united in laughter then hopefully someone caught it on video.  From the East stand the the song “what the fucking hell is that?” and from the West the request “where’s our barriers?”.  We really felt left out.  But then we had extra stewards deployed to us.  Ah, they just weren’t sure, would the West stand surprise them? Well, if we hadn’t knackered ourselves laughing then we might have.  Honestly, let supporters celebrate.  It’s the way forward.

So we stood by our seats after the final whistle.  We were waiting on the result from Falkirk.  We knew the current score, we waited on the final whistle.  When it came through Block 43 announced it before the club did (they tried to) and the party started.  It started and it went on.  I was an early fall out from it.  To those who stayed out and who are maybe still out being the Easter weekend, enjoy it, or those who went home, it doesn’t matter, we’ll all enjoy it.  Enjoy every minute of it because it’s deserved.  It’s so very deserved.

To add to that, our very own Signing of the Decade, Leeann Dempster, put out a thank you.

It has been a longer journey than any of us would have liked, but Hibernian has finally arrived at the destination we have all worked so hard to reach – promotion to the top flight of Scottish football.

It would be wrong to celebrate without first thanking you, Hibernian’s magnificent supporters, for standing by your Club during these difficult three years.

Difficult they have been; an emotional roller-coaster with the deep lows of play-off defeats contrasting with the incredible high of May 21st last year. Through all of this, and more, you the supporters have continued to commit to season tickets, buy shares either individually or as members of Hibernian Supporters Limited, or walked up to buy tickets.

Through it all you continued to turn out and support your team in increasing numbers. Thank You. Winning this Championship is dedicated to you and your families who have kept this club going through the years.

I’d like to congratulate Neil and his coaching staff, and of course the players, for working hard to win the Championship. They have worked incredibly hard, dealt with pressure, and there is no arguing that they have deserved to win the league.

Thanks are also due to the Board, the Chairman, and the principal shareholder for their continued support and encouragement.

Finally, I’d also like to personally thank all of the staff who work long hours behind the scenes, but whose contribution is also vitally important in making progress at the Club. Without them, none of this would have been possible.

Now we can all look forward to re-establishing Hibernian as a force at the top end of Scottish football. Season Ticket sales are running at record levels, the mood around the Club is buoyant. Exciting times lie ahead. The forecast – Sunshine on Leith.

Leeann

The fans have been phenomenal.  Buying season tickets just because we want to.  It’s assured that Hibs fans saw something happening a couple of seasons ago and signed up to join the ride and wow, what a ride it’s been ups and down, a Scottish Cup and promotion.  I mean, even Celtic can’t claim promotion…😉

The singing section has been amazing, getting the atmosphere going and keeping it going and coming up with song after song.  My favourite is the Darren McGregor song.

They’re all great though.  What a time to be a Hibby.

GGTTH 💚

 

Boring Hibs while SFA show they haven’t a clue

You pretty much don’t have to attend a Hibs game at the moment to know how the script goes.

Hibs turn up, league leaders, really needing a win just to be safe and come away with a draw or a boring win instead.  Or, in the case of St Mirren, a loss.  As league leaders we should be blowing away those below us in the first forty-five, if not then in sixty-minutes but we’re not, we’re like a gentle breeze.

However, a boring win is a win.  A draw is annoying but it’s a point and it’s not a loss and all going well and all going our way, we will be confirmed league winners next Saturday and can look forward to the Scottish Cup semi the following week.  Of course, one of the things that needs to go right next week is that we need to beat Queen of the South at Easter Road.  Surely, Hibs, surely!

Saturday’s trip to Morton had a few talking points beforehand.  One was, of course, would Neil Lennon and Jim Duffy go for it in round 2? Answer: no they didn’t. In fact, they shocked most of the pundits and even their own players as they strode towards each other (worrying at that bit) and hugged.  It wasn’t even the start of a wrestling move but a genuine hug with smiles and everything else.  They went on to do a joint interview just to show there were no hard feelings.

That’s why all these complaints from the Compliance Officer are so silly.  Yes, we have our rules and everything that goes with it.  It was a bad flare up at Easter Road which maybe should have earned the managers a carpeting by their clubs but this dragging it out over weeks is just a nonsense.  The SFA though, they like everyone to know they are in charge, even if they don’t appear to know what they’re doing.

Kudus Oyenuga, according to the Compliance Officer, would face no further action following his theatrics at Easter Road.  Despite reviewing that footage that clearly showed him making the most out of the event, he wasn’t to face any further action.

So, Hibs fans were annoyed and rightly so because if the Compliance Officer was saying Oyenuga was innocent then our own Darren McGregor was surely going to have his red card upheld.  It’s a logical assumption to make.  If Oyenuga hasn’t cheated then the Compliance Officer would have to find Darren guilty and then he would face a two match ban.

This is no ordinary football association though.  This is the Scottish Football Association.  Sanity doesn’t rule here.  What does rule?  Well, that’s not for me to say but think what you will.

No space left under the SFA carpet

On Thursday Darren’s red card was reduced to a yellow.  Nick Walsh’s horrendous mistake was, again, brushed under a carpet that’s now having trouble containing everything that’s under there.  Move along now, nothing to see here.  There was no incident.

Really? So what caused the following bust up then? Can only have been Oyenuga’s terrible tackle.  Effectively, Hibs are getting hammered for a shocking tackle on Jordon Forster.  That’s what the SFA are indicating by their decisions so far.

Add to that the fact that the SFA and Police Scotland are still giving Muttley style laughs as they announced that if you were on the pitch on 21st May 2016 you are still getting a knock on the door.  They’re still calling it a riot.  Oh dear then to Sheffield United and Doncaster fans who invaded the pitch on Saturday afternoon as their teams secured promotion.  Oh no wait.  You don’t come under the SFA’s jurisdiction so your FA and your local police forces will probably just say “tut, tut”.  Slap on the wrists and enjoy your victories.

Not in Scotland though.  Oh no.  Run onto the pitch after 114-year wait for the Scottish Cup and you are the vilest type of criminal the SFA and Police Scotland have ever seen.  Almost a year after the event and Operation Tonish shows no sign of winding down.  I’m so pleased that my taxes are going into this, I mean, Police Scotland are obviously so rich that they can continue to spend money on this.  Either that or it’s so very cheap to view footage for a year and then someone jumps up and shouts “he looked at Wallace the wrong way, bring him in!”.

When does it end?

I don’t have a problem over all with Police Scotland, but this continual insistence to go after people who were partying is terrible.  And, of course, many will make the link between Police Scotland and the SFA.

It’s time for change in Scotland.  The SFA are not up the task that they face.  They aren’t running Scottish football, they aren’t doing what is right for the game up here.  But who will start the change? Malky McKay? The supporters? Anyone?

Lennon is getting some stick for the Morton game at Cappielow.  Yes, he’s the manager but he’s not the players.  It’s just so frustrating how we’re playing just now.  Hibs need to can the hoofball.  We have proven, through Alan Stubbs, that we CAN play football so why we resort to the hoofball is ridiculous.  We played superb football under him and when Lenny took over we did the same.

I ask the Hibs players; where has this lacklustre display come from? What is the reason? You are all capable. You are all good enough.  Why aren’t we putting teams away?

GGTTH

 

Square go’s, red cards and a frustrating Hibs display

Never particularly like to start a Hibs blog with comments about refereeing but I am this time.  Nick Walsh had an absolute nightmare of a game on Wednesday evening at Easter Road.  Completely inconsistent throughout the entire match and then, in injury time, Kudus Oyenuga took out Jordon Forster in a complete leg-breaker of a tackle.  Seconds later, Darren McGregor comes over to him.  Now, Nick Walsh is standing in between McGregor and Oyenuga when the heads came together, in a “let’s go then” challenge, not a headbutt.  However, Oyenuga decided to play for a BAFTA, took a moment to think and held his head and fell down.

After the following melee (Jim Duffy tried to square go Lennon and there were various other comings together) Nick Walsh red cards Oyenuga for the death tackle and then McGregor for violent conduct.  PARDON?

How can he stand there and watch that scenario and say it’s a straight red for McGregor? This just underlines the state of refereeing in Scottish football.  No doubt, across the leagues there are many good referees but the standard of refereeing being set by the top flights of the SPFL is shocking.

Yes, referee’s have a split second to make a decision…or do they? Because they can consult with their linesmen (gave up calling them assistants a long time ago), if it’s something the linesman might have seen better.  Walsh shouldn’t have had to though, he was standing right there!

The footage has since been released and Nick Walsh should have a red face.  Hopefully that red card gets over-turned because if it doesn’t then we’re in a bad place regarding violent conduct decisions.

Neil Lennon getting pelters on social media by many people but guess what? I can’t argue with why he was angry Wednesday night.  His player gets taken out in a tackle that could have snapped a leg.  It gets a bit heated and suddenly he’s got Duffy and half the Morton staff in HIS technical area wanting to get at him.  He’s said himself, he’s not going to back down.  It’s not the ideal scene for a football match but Lennon is going to stick up for himself and his players in his way.  Now he’ll face the consequences of that, probably a ban and maybe a fine, but, despite being critical of him before, I have taken to him.  I understand his frustration and it came out in this match in a bad way but it came out in a good way on Saturday when Keats scored 90+2 against Falkirk.  He takes a bit of getting used to, I’ll admit that, but no one can deny his passion.  He’s a Hibs man now.  He’s a man who has had to fight for who he is and had to fight against the filth he encountered before.  He’s what we need.  A fighter.

Onto the game and here’s where I will be critical of Lennon (don’t tell him though).  Our tactics are getting a bit stale and teams are reading it and reading it very well.  Morton, aside from their thuggery, were able to guess what we were going to do.  We need to be a bit more clever, we need to get the ball on the deck, but other teams are keeping it aloft because they know as soon as we get it on the deck we’re going to play it and play it well.

Our shot taking has gone for a long walk and not returned yet.  Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, lump it in, right into the goalies hands.  Or pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, get it taken off us.

Whatever is going on here Hibs, we need to sort it before the semi-final.  Wednesday nights result didn’t do us any harm in the league, I doubt there will be any resurgance from either Falkirk or Morton going by the last two games but we need to take a deep breath and let the football flow again.  Yeah, other teams are going to frustrate us by playing frustratingly.  We need to frustrate them by playing football.  It’s really quite simple.

I will admit to sitting in the stands (that terminology is part of the reason we love football) thinking that I have forgotten just how frustrating Hibs can be to watch until Wednesday night.  They are frustrating, or more to the point, other teams are making them frustrating.  We need to change our play a bit, particularly when we go up.  Most folk will realise that but we can’t be so easy to guess.  Not if we want to contend.

Taking a step back and looking at our season, we’ve come a long way but there is still so much to be done.  There are a few players that are not going to come with us next season.  It’s unfair to mention them at this moment as everyone will have their own opinion as to who should be in the squad next season but there are players in our squad who are premiership players and there are players who aren’t and that’s football.

Next match is Dunfermline on April Fools day, no jokes please Hibs!

GGTTH

Efe little thing is gonna be alright 🕺🏾

It’s another Saturday and it’s another visit to Easter Road.  How would it play out? No one knew.  It’s Hibs, it’s anyone’s guess.

I had thought about doing this blog as a vlog, something I am keen to try out, but I have a case of the hiccups that’s driving me insane.  I’ve tried the drinking the glass of water from the other side thing, didn’t work.  Held my breath, didn’t work so here we hiccing go.

Some changes in the side this week due to international duties being undertaken by Ofir Marciano and John McGinn and injury.  Darren McGregor was captain for the day and Dylan McGeouch and Ross Laidlaw made starts.  Paul Hanlon is back and was on the bench.  Good news indeed.

I should probably mention at some point that we were playing Falkirk and it was a bit of a crucial game.

Out bounded Hibs, led by McGregor.  A minutes silence for those who passed in the attack at Westminster on Wednesday then kick off.

What followed was 45 minutes of sheer…confusion.  Well, from a fans point of view anyway.  Sometimes it’s like we forget why we’re on the pitch.  The team seem almost shocked to be there and just flap about and hope Lady Luck is on their side.

Falkirk on the other hand…what a bunch of dirty tactics their manager has instilled in them and it won’t get them anywhere.  I am always of the view that football is a contact sport and I think that refs give away too many soft fouls but it’s an absolute disgrace to watch a team run out prepped to be dirty.  They had the odd spell of football but to watch professional football players make tackles they know are known as “leg-breakers” on other professional footballers is disgusting.  Proud of yourself Houston? Should you manage to get your team into the SPL for next season you’ll have to teach them how to play football again.

Back to football though.  Hibs do put us through the mill and that first half was just odd but not unexpected.  Watching it I did kind of think it had draw written all over it.  As a Hibby though, I did expect Falkirk to sneak a win and for my inner Neil Lennon to be drawn out.

Some of our passes were dismal.  Also, why do we keep sending high balls to Jason Cummings?  He’s not got the height and the opposition ALWAYS have someone who towers over him marking him.  Jason needs the ball to his feet, not his head.  At. His. Feet.

Well done to all the Hibernian and Falkirk fans on the 44th minute.

The referee blissfully blew for half time.  The referee, I might add, must have been picked off the street before the game because he seemingly didn’t know the rules most of the time.  It’s almost as if they grabbed someone and said ‘do you fit this top and shorts? Yes? Then come with me!’.

I’m willing to bet the officials in the Championship wish that we had fourth officials for all games (not just TV and Cup) so they could take the brunt of our Lenny’s rage.  The linesman that draws the near side must surely cringe and wish themselves somewhere else.  The trouble is, officials, Lenny is usually right.  He may go overboard at times but his complaints are generally justified.

We’ve gotten under Neil Lennon’s skin, I think I have written about that before but I believe it to be true.  There is something about us that does that to people.  Pat Fenlon and Alan Stubbs are recent converts and now Lennon joins them.  They feel the passion and the love we have for our club and they feed off it almost.  I sit a few seats away from a past Hibernian player who now comes to most every home game.  I spoke to him after the game today and he was just so chuffed with the game, with Hibs fight.  It beamed off him.  That is what we do.

In the first half Jason was taunted by the Falkirk support when he went to take corners but what do Hibs fans do? They outnoise the taunts and this was met with applause from Jason himself when coming to take a corner at where South meets West.  I don’t know why opposition fans bother, their taunts gee him up.

Anyway, half time saw the CIS League Cup 2007 legends getting airing, apart from Lewy of course, who was getting a “Lennon half time talk”.  Brilliant to see most of the lads together again.  Forever in our hearts.  My favourite of them all is Rob Jones for his incredible Rob Jones Shoves.  He managed them with panache and without being caught by the officials for the most part.

Onto the second half.  Frustrated Hibees getting upset.  Dunfermline beating Morton 1-0 at Morton.  Could Dunfermline hold on? Would Morton come back and win?

Well, Dundee United weren’t part of todays drama as they were off in the Irn Bru Cup Final against St Mirren.  They won it and though they are now out of the title race (bar a miracle), but still in the play off place race, well done to them for putting a trophy in their cabinet.  I know it seems daft to say they are out the title race because they still could but it’s unlikely.

The beginning of the second half was pretty much how the first half ended.  Falkirk only know dirty tricks, Hibs fans frustrated at the poor passes, the hoofballs and the just not shooting.  Keatings had replaced Shinnie at half time and brought a new air into the game but it just wasn’t to be, not immediately.

I find it hard to believe that Craig Sibbald is only 21.  Firstly, that hair cut, but secondly because his pace is awful.  So is his acting.  I think Falkirk should release him to Coronation Street.

After shouting ‘this is f***ing mince’ I would be put in my place by a certain cool cat, Mr Efe Ambrose.  His 75th minute goal opened the scoring at Easter Road and activated his beautiful celebration.

Oh how we celebrated.  Oh how a brilliant Hibs fan in the West ran towards the Falkirk fans with his strip over his head and how we LOVED that.  The Fear giving him abuse that we laughed at.  Amazing guy.  If anyone know who he is, let me know! I’d like to speak with him.

While Falkirk scored within two minutes after the goal.  Ahem 1-1.

Hibs business returns to normal.  We’ve got it all to do again.  This was going to be a draw, we’d not be that much ahead.  How dreadful.  How Hibs.

What a magical time 90+2 is for us and for Keats who smashed in a winning goal on his standing foot.  You, sir, are amazing.  A 2-1 win, ten points clear and we can only throw it away.

We’re not going to do that, we’re too good.

GGTTH

All pictures credit to Cameron Allan.

Thanks to the Club and the Hibs Announcer on Saturday for your help. 

Consistenly inconsistent, but that league title is ours

If there’s one thing you can be entirely sure of with Hibs it’s that they’ll be inconsistent.  It’s the only thing they are consistent with.  Not that it’s a new thing.  Most Hibees will have seen this and may feel the same.  What the hell happens to us?

At least once a season, usually about this time of year, we have a spell where we just…I don’t know.  Do you ever get that weird feeling when your sugar levels drop and a lethargy over comes you? That seems to be what happens with Hibs.  Something similar anyway.  It’s like a lethargy shrouds us and we just lose it.

Saturday was a prime example of it.  The ground felt weird the moment I walked in.  There was an odd atmosphere.  I put it down to having been up since six for work and being tired.  It just felt strange, like we were all expecting something stupid to happen but not mentioning it to each other.

The elderly gentleman who sits beside me asked me what I thought the score would be and I responded that I didn’t even want to take a wild guess at that.  After a week of backing donkeys at Cheltenham (one came in 19th!) I was in no place to be trying to guess what the score was going to be on Saturday.

About four minutes into the game I already knew what we were going to be doing for the entire match.  Dumbarton were parking their bus and we just do not know how to deal with that.  What will we do? Well, let’s have a team flap.

The first half was AWFUL.  Absolutely nothing good going on there at all.  Of course, referee awards penalty to Dumbarton and who takes it? Of course, Christian Nade.  He scores and they go in at half time 1-0 ahead.  Hibs go in ready for a tongue lashing.

I was glad it was half time because previously, a half time team shout from Neil Lennon usually bucks us up a bit.

Nope.

At times I thought they had 22 men on the park because every one of our players seemed to be double-marked.  Then, in a melee in the goalmouth Dumbarton scored again, but thankfully for us it was their own goal and it levelled the match.  Thank you Daniel Harvie, you put us back in the game.

So it seemed we had silenced the Dumbarton tambourine.  For a little while anyway.  A mere five minutes later Thomson shot from outside the box and BAM, they were 2-1 up.

The crowd were not happy.  Every misjudged pass, every stretched out passing play was questioned by the crowd and rightly so.  Why are we making six thousand passes before the ball even gets considered for the box?

Then Keats has a penalty saved.  Holty brought down in the box.  Yes, a penalty saved.  Could the day get any worse?

Just before the 80 minute mark there was a tussle between Jordon Forster and, who else, Christian Nade.  The incident ended up (somehow) in the technical area where, witnessed by everyone there, Nade punched Forster.  The only people in the region who didn’t see it were the linesman, who was standing looking at it, and the referee.

I’d had a fairly quiet match up until then but I was on my feet at that.  Should have been a straight red for Nade but referee consulted with linesman and both Nade and Forster got a yellow.  No, no way.  A punch is violent conduct, isn’t it? Dumbarton hooked Nade immediately.

Thankfully Martin Boyle sneaked us an enqualiser in the 83rd, aided by a mistake from keeper Alan Martin, and I will allow that the team did try very hard to keep the attack on for the remaining few minutes and Dumbarton’s shaky keeper could have been easily beat had we been able to properly have a shot on goal.  A couple of corners, a few chances but it finished 2-2 and that was that.

All is not lost though.  Other scores actually went our way (for a change).  Raith (when did they slip down to 7th?) beat Dundee Utd 2-1 and Morton beat Falkirk 1-0 putting them on level points with tomato heads team.  We still have a seven point advantage on Falkirk (and Morton) who have played all their games so far, we have one in hand and Morton have two.

We really, really, REALLY, can only throw this away now.  If we don’t win automatic promotion then…

I don’t believe we will chuck it in any way.  Hopefully the players gave themselves a fright because Saturday was a horror show.  Ever been asleep and had a nightmare that you couldn’t get yourself out of? That was how this match was.  One of those dreams where you only have your underpants on? Yep that too.  Just a disaster.

Hibs played on Saturday as if the league was already won and all they had to do was turn up.  Well, Hibs, that’s not the case.  As fans, we have put in all of our efforts this season.  I single out this season because the season ticket sales soared.  The away support have been terrific, travelling everywhere in numbers and often being treated to some poor displays but never losing the faith.  The home support has been huge.  We have been noisy and we have supported the team.  The singing section looks like it’ll move to the FF stand to increase fan participation in singing.  That’s a huge move for the singing section who have been doing a fantastic job this season.

No one has lost the faith.  It’s just taken a bashing at the moment.  We need that team, our team, to stand up, admit they were awful and prove to us that it’s not going to be how they are now.

We have Falkirk this coming Saturday.  We have Jason back for it but Marciano and McGinn away.  I’m not worried about losing Marciano, Laidlaw did fine when he was out before, but I would ask Strachan to give us back McGinn if he has no interest in playing him on the Sunday.  What international experience is he gaining sitting in the stands? Yes, proud of him for getting the call up but if Strachan has no use for him then we do and we’ll happily take him back for the Saturday game.  I’m happy our boys get selected but overall I am club before country.  I will support Neil Lennon if he asks for McGinn to come back.

Sports Channels

Please, please, please stop apologising for when supporters say swear words.  I know you are trying to avoid complaints but, basically, when you have competitive sport you’re going to get some choice words.  People watching football on the TV are more than likely aware of this.  Basically you are apologising for fan enthusiasm.  Stop it.  Stop it.  If you need to, at the start of the game tell us that there may be some choice wording but don’t apologise for it.  It’s patronising the emotion that fans feel for their clubs, most of the time.

Back to Hibs

Personally, I would have had the squad in for an 8 am training session on Sunday.  Or earlier.  The weather is crap, it ruins their Saturday night (not a fan of that but there is good reason) and it means the manager is serious.

Otherwise, it’s time to get serious.  One week to get ready to welcoming Falkirk here.  If we fail in that endeavour then we need to question who we are.

In saying all that.  None of us are going to stop supporting you, Hibs.  Just get the finger oot and finish what we’ve started.  We love you 😀

GGTTH

Thank you to our very own Callum Kane who provided inspiration for the blog and for the title 🙂

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Hibs must make league priority, Twitter has loan meltdown

If there’s one thing that any Hibs fan knows with absolute certainty it’s that if there is a hard way to do something Hibs will pick to do it that way.

The derby cup mauling of the Jambos was only just over a week ago but it seems much longer than that as Hibs seem to have lost their way a bit in the league.  Prior to the cup derby game there was the soul destroying point at Raith which led to Neil Lennon’s heavy criticism of his team. Continue reading

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