A Late Call and Hibernian Euphoria!
The following article appears in the 2013 Scottish Cup Final edition of Mass Hibsteria. It was written for the Hibs fanzine shortly after the recent victory in the Edinburgh derby game.
I WRITE AS A TORRENT OF HIBERNIAN green blood surges through my veins in the immediate aftermath of a famous away derby victory against ‘they who shall not be named’. A conquest made all the more sweet in that it was achieved with an injection of youthful promise, little in the way of great expectations and a terrific late, late goal by the muscular young talent of Ross Caldwell. It will be recorded that earlier in this lively affair, Hibs, after falling behind despite boasting huge territorial advantage, fought back tenaciously and levelled with yet another stunning strike from a free kick by goal machine, Leigh Griffiths before scoring for a second time at the very best juncture possible.
It’s a late call for me too, writing these words at the pinnacle of publication deadline time after a kind request. The kind of contribution that is always a great pleasure as I think of my Hibernian brothers and sisters back home and indeed all over the globe. At this moment, they will variously be celebrating in Edinburgh pubs, sitting behind their computers at home like me (poring over a small avalanche of Facebook and Twitter updates and the like) or maybe even retiring to bed in the wee sma’ hours. In just two weeks time, and maybe as you read this, many of us will be reunited once more in a common cause.
It falls upon me to speak of the past season, 2012-13 as we reach it’s very zenith, a somewhat extraordinary campaign in many ways. After a summer of low spirits, constitutions were thankfully fortified towards putting matters right at Easter Road. After a largely successful time achieving these aims as the winter approached, a slow, insidious (and it has to be said) perhaps slightly predictable deterioration took place. This was tempered generally by the insistent, eye-catching and dazzling success of one-man forward line, Griffiths’ attempts putting the ball in the opposition net where it belongs. Very well done to staunch and loyal Hibee, Leigh in carrying our hopes through some darker moments. Will that magical thirty-goal target be achieved, I wonder, before the final whistle sounds on 2012-13?
There have, happily however, been two Hibernian FC’s as the season has drawn inexorably on. The afore-mentioned, slightly toiling league team that has left some frustration amongst us and also the excellent cup team who have fought their way to yet another opportunity to win the Scottish Cup through some difficult ties and an incredible almost once-in-a-lifetime fight back in a Hampden semi-final. This is the team I would like to focus on as I am full, yet again, of hope.
The twelfth of May in this year of 2013 has left manager Fenlon and his staff with some intriguing questions to answer. I refer mainly to the belated introduction of youth into the Hibs starting line-up and regarding who shall be accommodated in the final eleven that walks out in Hibernian’s name in Glasgow at the end of May. Of late, we have witnessed the clever urgings, mature skills and intelligent football brain of Alex Harris, evidencing an overdue beginning to his senior professional career. Significant today for me too was the Ross Caldwell goal, a beautiful and clean derby strike which will perform great things for the young forward’s confidence as he begins to understand how to score for the ‘big boys’. Teenager, Jordan Forster too carried out a solid and assured debut today in this most difficult of events amidst a cauldron of Edinburgh passion.
Clearly, the way forward is written, it is in youth, not the acquisition and juggling of middling, run-of-the-mill journeymen. Hibernian has been and will again become a football factory of effervescent and confident young talent. I hope to see such a confidence in and parade of that talent on the twenty-sixth. I remain upbeat about the blessed institution that is Edinburgh Hibernians Here endeth today’s homily.
Those who know me well understand that my love of Hibs travels beyond football and into family, roots, history and tradition. I know that others are with me in these thoughts and more than occasionally I hear a heartening and lovely story that reaffirms this culture and set of beliefs. Today was one of those days. A fellow Hibee and great friend related the story of how she packed away her late father’s – a lifelong Hibs man – bunnet with her into the away end at today’s derby. It happened as follows:
‘At 89 minutes I took my late Dad’s flat cap (inclusive of 2 Hibs badges) and placed it on my head. I made a silent wish for a last-minute goal……. and boom! Love you Dad x’
This to me illustrates the ties of generations past and future. It is a love like no other, as I have often stated. The deep feeling, the faith, the passion and the knowing that you ‘belong’.
I look forward to meeting some of you again very soon. The Hibernian Football Club and its family, reaching back to 1875.
We walk together.
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