Happy Hibee Anniversary
It was the corresponding weekend that brought a trip to Glasgow’s Hampden Park to see Hibernian play against Kilmarnock in the final of the CIS Cup final on March 18, 2007. What a memorable time it was!
My partner and I travelled up to Edinburgh on the Friday night before Sunday’s game to get acclimatised before the coach trip to Glasgow and to spend a little time ‘back home’. The Saturday evening featured a fine night celebrating with the worthy folk from the Hibees Bounce website. This was far from a strictly Edinburgh/Leith gathering at The Royal Nip on Albert Street, just off the heavenly boulevard of Easter Road though as supporters had travelled from various parts of the world for the festivities and the the date with destiny at Hampden.
Early celebrations my good friend and host, his daughter, my partner and set off for an early rendezvous at a pub in nearby Portobello. When we arrived the doors were locked, the windows shuttered and we were led through the entrance of the business next door to view an entire bar full of people bedecked in green and white…at 8AM in the morning! We were introduced to friends from the Mass Hibsteria website and I had the earliest pint of my life!
The coach set off for Glasgow with a scheduled stop at Pollock Boys (Football) Club. It was a most friendly and gracious welcome the several coachloads of visitors received from the good people at the club. The Hibees Bounce with it’s customary excellent planning had provided a great lunch stop with plenty of good wholesome food, a cheap bar, a disco and practically everything we needed to prepare us for the big game. It was interesting too meeting old friends and new from the site, being pointed out to people that one had conversed with on the Internet many times but never met in person.
The day’s weather had been a very mixed one so far. Although mid-March, we encountered fairly heavy sleety snow on the journey which was to play it’s role in the game. Walking down the cold, blustery streets around the stadium we took our seats to wait for the appearance of the Hibees.
Rob Jones, it will be recorded game Hibs a lead with a powerful headed goal in a snow storm. In truth, though many Hibbies heart strings would have been jangling throughout the game due to the team’s reputation for messing things up at the death, I never felt the result was in doubt after that first goal shot in. The record books will show that Hibs beat Kilmarnock 5-1 and yes, it was that emphatic as John Collins’ boys put on power show of good football with young Lewis Stevenson running the midfield at just nineteen years of age.
At the end of the game I have hardly ever seen mass emotion like it. Grown men were weeping with joy and relief, Hibs supporters were in heaven as they sang out the Hibee anthem Sunshine on Leith. One would have needed to be made from stone to not feel the passion and emotion of those tens of thousands of green-bedecked fans singing along in celebration. I felt choked and have no problem stating that. I thought of my own father and how much he would have enjoyed this day. I was pleased to say that his full name was included on a giant flag organised by Hibs.net specially for the game. Good one guys, you made sure my daddy had his day in the sun with the Hibs and I appreciate it.
Of course nobody wanted to leave the ground and very few in green did for some length of time. Finally it was time to leave and to take our memories home with us. It was something of a tortuous task finding our coach and travelling back along the M8 to Edinburgh but we breezed along somehow on a veritable cloud nine. Back in Leith it was time to procure a fish supper (with salt and sauce of course) and this a friend and I did before assembling on Easter Road to get a view of the open-top bus with the Hibs team and the cup on board. It was a disappointing ant-climax for some supporters who had attempted to get into the stadium only to find the gates barred with several thousand people inside. It was of less concern to my friend and I who settled for a place out on the road to wait for the team.
My host and other friends joined us afterwards for drinks and an excellent night celebrating. Along the way we found the time to have a drink in the tiny Halfway House on Fleshmarket Close just below the Royal Mile. An American visitor wanted to know our story and joined in our celebrations heartily!
It’s now a year on. Memories dim but much of this day will stay in my mind forever. It was quite simply the best day I have ever had supporting Hibernian Football Club.
Erin go Bragh