Today’s game was preambled by the predictable patronising pat on the heid from our opposition’s following. Jolly chaps, the lot of them, they smirked and smiled and sat back waiting for what they thought was going to be a run of the mill win. They sat on their hands, with the exception of their naughty corner, for the best part of 80 minutes. Waiting to be entertained, watching as we entertained and showed them how it is done both on and off the park.
We lined up with a back four of Lewy, Whitty, Paul and Efe in front of Laidlaw. Midfield saw SJM, Dylan, Slivka and Barts take the field with Boyler out wide and high and Stokesy through the middle. There was no starting place for Oor Leigh, or indeed Scott with the Bad Hair or Patrick with the cardboard face being sold outside the Vaults Bar. A sign of the patronising pat coming from within the Celtc hierarchy, as well as their support, or a sign of tired legs after their midweek jaunt to Yoorope. Either way, it looked like it mattered not during the opening exchanges with Tom Rogic bossing midfield for the entire first half and our team taking its time to work its way into the game. We started with a surging run of Super proportions from Grandson McGinn but John would probably be the first to admit that his contribution for the remainder of the first half was going to be a little sketchy. Rogic was faster, quicker to the ball and, at one point, John actually bounced off him. However, that balance was going to shift in exactly the other direction as the game was to progress into the second period, with SJM going on to dominate midfield (and the game) big time. But more of that to come…
In the opening stages, Celtc looked comfortable and, although we saw a reasonable amount of the ball, they were in the ascendancy at the start of the match. They took the lead on 16 minutes when Moussa Dembele found McGregor unmarked, thanks to Slivka having completely left his man. The Celtc player took total advantage of the Leithuanian being caught napping and slotted the ball past Laidlaw. It was a frustrating situation for us to find ourselves in because, although Celtc had been comfortable, this was maybe only the second real chance they had been offered to this point. Slivka had been at a concert in the Playhouse on Thursday night and it wouldn’t be the music still ringing in his ears come half time judging by the gaffer’s response on seeing the goal again on the big screens.
Hibs may have been thought to simply now capitulate but nothing could be further from the truth and we began to get themselves more and more into the game during the opening half. Dylan McTickTock was running the show for us in the middle, the back four were ALL at the races with Efe an absolute stand out. I can’t stress that enough. He was thinking on the same level as the opposition and anticipating pretty much everything the nippy home forward line could throw at us. It was his finest hour in a Hibs strip and the others with him in the rearguard obliged by having equally determined and driven performances. At half time we reflected that of all of those in the away strips in the first 45 mins, only maybe Slivka and Bartley had been a little out of things. Slivka had been culpable at the goal and Bartley had been allowed all the time he wanted on the ball when he was trying to go forward (clearly Rodgers felt there was nothing to worry about there) but had been off the pace of the blistering first half Rogic display.
Second half saw us get treated to a 45 minutes that our noisy, exuberant support deserved. McGinn was about to turn in a very fine 45 minutes all of his own, surely putting him into contention for a Scotland start next week. His equalising strike was a thing of absolute beauty. From the edge of the area his trusty left peg drove a low shot into the bottom corner of the net, off to Craig Gordon’s left. If anyone had doubted allegiances of certain players ahead of today’s game, then there was absolutely zero doubt as to where McGinn’s loyalties and heart lay today – his celebration with the Hibs fans in the corner was as exuberant as an exuberant thing being exuberant on the 21st May. It gave everyone hope and belief. Suddenly, with us in the ascendancy, all bets were off. The biggest library in Scotland knew it, we knew it, our players knew it. Even the back to front Polish dancing Green Brigade dafties knew it.
Hibs continued to create momentum and Roger headed narrowly over from a set piece. Not long after, he then had a remarkable effort, that looked goal bound, from point-blank range. Somehow, somehow Plug from the Bash Street Kids pushed it away…and I’m still not sure how. Still Hibs kept coming. Still it felt like a special result might be on the cards. Rattled, seriously rattled, the library audience twitched in their seats as they sat watching our support show them how its done, in between looking through their fingers at the game and with only 13 minutes left, SJM nearly had them collectively wetting themselves when he put Hibs ahead with a strike from distance that beat Gordon all ends up. Exuberance, and then some, ensued.
Now we were into the end game. Celtc had been so rattled as to bring on Sinclair, Roberts and one of our own. We were always going to have everything thrown at us and, sadly, with just nine minutes left on the scoreboard, they carved open an equaliser. From a corner there was a knock-down and McGregor bagged his brace. It was a scunner but we needed to keep cool heads and brave hearts to ensure we left the library with a point in our book to show for our efforts. Frighteningly, it looked like it might not happen when Sinclair got straight through a tiring Whitty and then squealed like a piggy at Gollum that he had been clawed back by Efe Ambrose in the box. Gollum, who had bottled sending off Tom Daly Forrest in the first half, thankfully waved away the claims for a penalty and we sighed a collective gasp of relief.
Laidlaw – a couple of very good saves, not least one with his legs in the first half. A good outing.
Lewy – bust the proverbial gut and took one for the team late in the second half when Roberts looked like he might be clean through otherwise
Whittaker – best game for him of the season. Didnt see that coming, well done, sir.
Hanlon – the archetypal Paul performance
Efe – oh my giddy aunt. What a performance, what a player today. Oh sweet Sauzee. Don’t underestimate his contribution this afternoon
Bartley – a good second half, an anonymous first as Rogic ran the show
McTickTock – if anyone handled the “playing against your old club” thing best, it was Dylan. In his element
SJM – an international class second half. Two outrageous goals, two outrageously good celebrations. We’ve got SJM and they found out the hard way
Slivka – an anonymous first half and culpable at the goal but a good second half and very influential
Boyler – his pace bothered them, his first touch didn’t. He is our out and will be vitally important at Hampden next month
Stokesie – worked hard, gave them things to think about. Happy to celebrate too
Murray and Barker – came on for tired legs and to run down the clock. Both worked hard, albeit for all of 5 minutes.
Gollum – bottled sending off Forest Gump. Thankfully didnt give a penalty at the end. Annoyed the home fans as he didnt give them everything Annoyed us for not giving us very much at all
Leigh – of all the folk involved with being on “the wrong side” he looked most bothered by it. He really didn’t want to be there. Rodgers did him a favour maybe by not starting him.
The Hibs fans – again our away support was excellent. The away games this season have been far better experiences, games and results than the home ones. From “Leigh Griffiths, he’s one of our own” through to “We hate Rangers more than you” we had the home fans more confused than a Hearts manager winning 3 points. We out-sang them and they knew it.
As big Marv says, we run this city. We seem to run another one, too. We have hope now going into our third game in the Weege, at Easter Road West. Get buying those tickets and back the boys. We can do this.
Man of the Match. I know, I know…every man and his dug will be expecting SJM and I wouldn’t argue at the divine performance he put in. Each and every one of the team contributed well today and that is really encouraging. However, Efe Ambrose looked like an international class defender for the entire 90 mins. He was awesome. Truly, freakin’ awesome.
Next up the Sheep at ER…looking forward to this lots. Let’s fleece ’em.
Today started by me heading down to Turnhouse at 7 this morning to pick up Nabser from Waterford via Dublin. Into Glasgow Southside for a pre match party, onto Hampden to watch our football team become legends, home to Livingston, drop off the bairns and Dr Shrink, then take our bus to Turnhouse to drop Nabser back off for his Dublin flight home. Onto Leith for beers and home again and just watched the highlights and yes, I can confirm Hibernian FC are Scottish Cup winners 2016. So good I am about to watch it again after watching it twice already.
So to our team, they were magnificent, to a man, to a woman, they gave their all, they found the Holy Grail, they brought the cup home.
Conrad Logan – A Legend
Lewis Stevenson – A Legend
Darren McGregor – A Legend
Liam Fontaine – A Legend
Paul Hanlon – A Legend
David Gray – A Legend and our Captain
Fraser Fyvie – A Legend
John McGinn – A Legend
Dylan McGeouch – A Legend
Jason Cummings – A Legend
Anthony Stokes – A Legend
Liam Henderson – A Legend
James Keatings – A Legend
Nikolas Gunnarsson – A Legend
Mark Oxley – A Legend
Marvin Bartley – A Legend
Martin Boyle – A Legend
Chris Dagnall – A Legend.
The Coaching Staff…
Alan Stubbs – A Legend
Andy Holden – A Legend
John Doolan – A Legend
Alan Combe – A Legend
Paul Green – A Legend
Graeme Mathie – A Legend
Kitty Forrest – A Legend
George Craig – A Legend
Eddie May – A Legend
Joe McBride – A Legend
Tam McCourt – A Legend
Joyce McCourt – A Legend
Dr Duncan Reid and Dr Stephen Miller – Legends
Leanne Dempster – A Legend
The team above destroyed a hoodoo, these people made Hibstory today, they should never have to pay for a drink in our city again. Each and everyone one of you, I thank you from the depths of my soul.
Now lets talk about us, the fans. WE are Hibernian FC, the 24000 Hibs fans today witnessed history, a history we didnae dare to dream off. I know others will be critical of the end of the game, let them be.
Me, I could not give a chuff. Out football club, our bonnie bhoys won us the Cup, I will love these people for the rest of my life, thank you, thank you, thank you.
So, my Just backs come to an end of this season, and it has been the happiest report I have ever filed for the Bounce and St. Pat’s, our team, your team, my team today made themselves Hibernian Legends, they will go down in Hibstory as the people that finally won THAT Cup for us and for that I once again thank them.
Hibernian Football Club Scottish Cup Winners 2016.
Well, what can I say? Had Hibs gotten into top gear, that might have been a mauling! Some tweaks to the team, Paul rested, Daz back in, Whitts rested, Sir David back in, Porteous in for Barts in a back three, Stokesy for Boyler et viola.
Fluid, fast, crisp move after move, Neil Lennon’s Hibernian are joy to behold! Hibernian playing fitba the Hibernian way, ye cannae beat it. This super fit, skillful, hard as nails team really are looking good, the best bit being they never even tried to kick on, they simply dismantled a reasonable Err team. I even agree with Shiteinyurshoe McCall, for 10-15 minutes of the second half Err dominated. Efe was doing his hair, Big Porteous was squeezing his plooks, John was finishing his chicken and Guinness, Darren was practising his YLT signs and Stokes and Murray were trying to identify the smell of burning. When we started trying a bit, we pumped them sair.
I will go through the players in a moment, but I have to say I thought John McGinn, Simon Murray and Anthony Stokes were excellent as was the tireless McGeouch. The three centre halves and keeper were slack at times, but we look very, very solid through out the team. If you have not been along to see them, do so.
Rocky had a couple of wee boobs tonight, but nothing that cost a goal. Possibly caused in part by boredom!
David Gray, Club Captain and winning goal scorer on the 21st of May 2016 Scottish Cup final win had a good, attacking game and appeared to enjoy himself.
Darren McGregor was a class defender. He never gives the ball away, well very much.
Efe had a couple of Efe moments as Efe does. He also cleaned up and played fitba all night capped by a fine goal from a few yards out followed by a celebratory back flip forward and perfectly executed forward roll to collect the 10 points for all the judges.
Ryan Porteous plays like Paul Hanlon, runs like Paul Hanlon, looks like Paul Hanlon, supports the Hibs like Paul Hanlon and is as capable. What a find.
Lewis again played well in a more attacking, roving role. Linked well with McGinn, McGouch and Swanson.
John McGinn was simply Super I hear he has been doing weights all summer, by Sauzee it looks it. He now looks like a big, strong, highly skilled English Premiership midfielder. His passing was magnificent, at least ten inch perfect 20-30 yard passes to the excellent feet of Murray, Stokes and Gray. John was absolutely unplayable tonight.
Dylan McGeouch has been somewhat overshadowed by our big name signings recently. I thought he had his best game in a Hibs shirt tonight, very quietly efficient and very very skillful with it.
Then there was Danny Swanson. My son reckons there is no such thing as ‘trying too hard’. Maybe not, but Danny tries to do the right thing, its just not quite coming off for him yet. It will.
Stokesy started, Stokesy scored two, Stokesy looked fit, energetic and his passing and all round play was a joy to watch. He and Simon Murray instantly clicked and I cannae wait to watch this pair in action again. The smell of singed grass is still lingering in my nostrils.
Simon Murray is simply fantastic, he scores, he runs and runs and runs, he closes down, his positional play is excellent, his first touch better than most, his awareness is as good as any Hibs player I can remember since the heady days of Franck and Russell. Then there is the natural and instant bond between Simon and Tony. That is 9 Simon has scored now, its early August! Wow.
Just imagine if we had decided to up our game tonight.
A double substitution with Boyler replacing Murray and Slivka replacing Swanson after an hour or so.
Boyler is like a new signing, he is direct, flips sides and very fast.
Slivka is skillful, graceful and a good football player. Played some lovely, dangerous passes into the box.
Matu replaced McGeouch after 75 minutes, was a real handful and slammed the ball home for his first goal for the club. He then almost scored his second and our sixth with a good header. I reckon he might become a cult hero.
Neil Lennon has built a team that are strong, direct, skillful and full of goals. To think they will get better has left me with a smile as wide as the gap between us and those mugs from Gorgie.
Err were ok, 599 noisy fans, that shut up after quickly realising they were lucky they had not been given a real doing. They will do well in their league.
The referee made a couple of strange decisions but was generally ok, which if fine.
7500 Hibs fans in a spartan crowd, the Since 1875 guys did there best to get an atmosphere going with little success. Get along and see this Hibs team people when you can, its worth it.
Man of the Match, well its not easy. Had Simon Murray not been hooked he would, yet again of got it from me, he is simply ‘braw’ as his wee pal Oor Wullie would say. Stokesy was given it by the match sponsors for his two goals and his all round play, and well deserved it would have been. Dylan was quietly great tonight too. But for me, the best fitba player on that pitch and easily one of the best in Scotland is Super John McGinn. The laddie on that form is simply unplayable. If John McGinn in not part of a top half English Premiership midfield in a years time and is still playing for Hibs, I will be flabergasted.
Brilliant John Boy, brilliant!!!
This Just back is dedicated to the two St Pat’s Branch lady members I met in the Hibs Club before the game. Enjoy!!
When I signed off after doing four “Just Backs” up to and including the Arbroath game, I anticipated my next outing on Just Back duty would be some time in September or October, when 1875 would be off to his second home in sunny Spain again. I didn’t anticipate it coming as soon as the first game of the SPL season but the auld yin is off to his wee brother’s 70th birthday tonight and was going to be toiling to put something together for around 24 hours…so here I go again for my fifth Just Back of the season, just 4 weeks early. His nibs will be back on duty on Tuesday night
Today was “Flag Day”. I couldn’t get the song by the Housemartins out ma heid ahead of kick off. It was almost as much of an ear worm as the McGinn song after the Tynecastle derby of 2016 but not quite…and it became a bastardised version in ma heid with every passing hour. Too much energy, adrenalin pumping and anticipation for today. Finally, Flag Day. I went for my usual early Saturday morning run to try and use up some of the energy pulsing through every blood vessel and oozing out every pore. I even ran up Calton Hill today, such was the extent of the booster rocket fuel racing through my arteries and veins. I felt like feckin’ Rocky on the top of the steps…and still no less excited. On the way I passed green and white jersey and green and white favour after favour…Hibs fans were everywhere and it was barely 9am. Colours loud and proud. Excited, chatting, smiling. The bleedin’ run really only had me feel even more energized and impatient.
It had been the weirdest of weeks. It started with much hilarity and positivity as Hibs won their League Cup section, undefeated and were rewarded with a reasonable last 16 tie. Across the city, they bombed out to three part time teams, sacked their comedy gold manager and then were forced to admit that the promised land of a shiny new stand was not happening when and where they said it would. And, even better still, the embarrassment that this was because they had not ordered seats. Or could not order seats. We know what we reckon…
Then, as the icing on the proverbial sticky bun, we have our Lord of the Rings moment…the return of the King. Anthony Stokes, Hibernian legend, signs on the dotted line and has everyone absolutely bursting to get going today. If Carlsberg did Edinburgh football weeks, it was this week…
So on to proceedings.
Hibs were minus both Sir David and Darren through suspension and so there were enforced changes to the back line. Rocky kept goal behind a back four of Stevenson, Whittaker, Efe and Hanlon. A lot of folk thought there would have been a start for Fonts but Lenny went with the better, if not fitter player. McGinn, McGeouch, Bartley, Boyle and Swanson lined up to support Simon Murray up top. There was a place on the bench for the returning King, alongside the Leithuanians getting their first home game experience in the green and white of Hibernian.
Ahead of the kick off the Hibees were presented with the League flag as Rod Petrie collected the League trophy on behalf of the club. It was a moment we had all longed for but, as sometimes can happen, the other team went about trying to spoil the party. Hibs were a bit more sluggish than their opponents in the opening exchanges, and fell behind to Chris Erskine’s opener after 7 minutes. Dylan had misplaced a couple of passes, Bartley and McGinn were looking a little ponderous and the goal could have been something of a set back but, thankfully, it merely served to act as the catalyst Hibernian needed to get their act together and get a foothold in the game.
Martin Boyle bagged an equaliser seven minutes later, as John McGinn went through the gears from okay to influential to Super. McGinn drove at a Thistle defence in rearguard action, delivering the ball into the box. It took a a bit of a ricochet before falling into the path of Squirrel. The intent and purpose in his reaction was palpable and, like a bushy tailed rodent with his nuts, he grabbed the prize and hit a cracking leveller past Cerny.
Boyle was at this stage looking the most likely to undo the visiting defence. Dylan made a probing run down the flank before delivering a ball into the area. Boyle looked certain to score, but ex-Hibee Calum Booth somehow managed to clear the ball when it looked like we were about to go 2-0 up. However, it wasn’t long before we finally take the lead. Swanson and McGeouch linked up cleverly to create space and opportunity. Swanson found Whittaker on the edge of the area. He needed absolutely no invitation to drive the ball into the bottom corner of the net. I don’t know if Simon Murray got anything on the shot but it didn’t ultimately matter. Hibees were back in business and the ground was full of anticipation.
At half time, they went in a worthy 2-1 up.
In the second half, Hibs continued where they had left off and Boyler continued to give Booth nightmares with his pace down the right. After about 5 minutes into the half, he was found guilty of hauling Squirrel down in the box – and the referee (who was keech most of the afternoon) couldn’t deny Hibs a clear penalty. Swanson tried briefly to persuade Murray to let him take the spot kick but it was our red haired goal machined who would fire Hibs into a 3-1 lead on the 51st minute. Girls don’t like boys, girls like Simon Murray rang out around the ground. Eight goals now so far this season. Boys don’t like girls, boys also like Simon Murray
Boyle nearly provided another goal for Murray, but his shot unfortunately came back off the post….much to the relief of the rattled Thistle back line.
The remainder of the match saw each team make enforced substitutions. Doolan went off for the away team and we lost Bartley with a dead leg – sustained in an accidental collision with Steven Whittaker The biggest roar of the day was to come when Hibs replaced Swanson with Anthony Stokes. He was to come on and play a few bits of interplay with such as McGinn but it was obvious that he needs time and training to get up to speed. Although the Ayr game on Tuesday might provide an opportunity to get some useful miles on the clock.
The other incident of note in the closing stages was a ridiculous situation where John McGinn had a free kick given against him in favour of the brutal Partick No 6, Osman. It was an incident worthy of a Grant Stott run in the pantomime…McGinn clearly feeling aggrieved. Within minutes he went through the big daftie in the away defence and got himself booked for his troubles, giving Osman the thumbs up in thanks, on receiving his yellow card.
The ratings…Hibees are top of the hit parade on Flag Day.
Rocky – another outing, another solid performance from the man with the reflexes and, erm, eyes of a tiger
Lewis – tenacious and busy from the off, he ran 500 miles and would have run 500 more
Whittaker – good goal and generally very good outing. Like the Eurythmics, he felt it was good to be back home again
Efe – ach, another Efe efternoon. Glides and sashets through things, occasionally coming a cropper. But we are pleased Brendan released him and let him go
Hanlon – I was worried at the start, kept looking for signs of fatigue but he came through this well. He is hopelessly devoted to you.
McGinn – don’t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart, he started slowly but was influential at very important times.
McGeouch – a slow burner of a game. Built it up, tore it down
Bartley – slow burner number 2. Came off worse in a collsion with Whittaker, who’d have thought that of The Boxer?
Swanson – the creative spark. A very Happy Hour
Boyle – Eat, sleep, race, repeat.
Murray – Girls don’t like boys, Girls like Simon Murray
Stokes – We like to praise you
Murray – The light is always green
Dave – Sunshine on Leithuanian
Man of the Match – officially Simon Murray and, again, it is hard to argue. Shout outs for Swanson, Whittaker, Boyle and Hanlon (given his circumstances).
I hope you all enjoyed Flag Day. I hope anyone who can gets along to the cup game on Tuesday. Please try to.
In the meantime, an alterntive lyric for the ear worm in my lug. Enjoy what’s left of Flag Day…
With apologies to The Housemartins…
Too many Craig Leveins
Not enough Sauzee class ooze
Too many halos not enough heroes
Coming up with the (Chinese) goods
So you though you’d like to change the world
Decided to stage a cake bake sale
For the stand, for the poor
It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean
Try shaking a box in front of Budge Queen
‘Cause her purse is fat and bursting at the seams
It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean
Too many hands in too many pockets
Not enough hands on Hearts
Too many ready to call it a day
Before the day starts
So you thought you’d like to see us healed
Thank you…thank you
It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean
Try shaking a box in front of Budge Queen
‘Cause her purse is fat and bursting at the seams
It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean
Flag day, flag day, flag day, flag day…
Of what you may ask? Well, its simple, I am quietly confident that Neil Lennon and the backroom support team are shaping a damned fine squad and a damned fine fitba team. A blend of yoof and experience, who never looked in trouble today in the bucketing rain, again in front of as large a Hibs support as I have seen at Alloa. In Rocky we have an assured goalie, backed up with a excellent number 2 in Laidlaw, we have a choice of 8 excellent defenders who slot in seamlessly, we have skill, strength, power and guile in midfield and goals in attack.
The game itself saw the other two Hibs Murray’s, Fraser and Simon shine, both in their play, movement and goals, Marv was solid, Boyler showed the pace and today some of the passes that will win us games. Paul Hanlon returned to rousing applause and then the joy of our two Leithuanians, just wait until you see Slivka, wow. And wait until you see the size of Matu, 6 foot 3 inches of muscle, with the running style of Garry O.
Alloa offered little, indeed that idiot savant Gollum and Mother Nature had more effect on the game than the Wasps. Hibs however, well we strolled it, indeed one or two of the players probably should have given more. If the don’t, we have the quality in depth in defence and midfield to replace them.
Rocky had little to do, when he had to, he made the saves that he is paid to make.
Whitts, I thought looked out of sorts, too many short passes, a lack of match practice probably.
Darren, well, he never gives the ball away. Darren plays for Hibs in the way any Hibs daft fan would. Darren captained the team at kick off I think?
Efe was Efe, graceful, skillful, classy, with the odd wee “EfeError”.
Lewis had a pretty poor start to the game as he got used of the artificial pitch, but had a better second half.
Marv was solid, solid as a rock. I thought he was very good today.
John McGinn was good but not Super. He is Super though and John having an average game is still a very good watch. Blasted a couple over.
Dylan drifted in and out of the game. I wouldnae have played McGeouch today, that pitch won’t do his potential groin issues any good, I would have rested him.
Boyler today showed more pace and guile, with a couple of cracking balls playing out wide right first 70 minutes, and was even better on the right last twenty. Playing like that he will give the big huddies in the top League nightmares.
Fraser Murray was lovely to watch, scored one, set one up and the laddie looks like a star. Playing again in the hole between midfield and his namesake Simon. Once he has sussed out the diet regime Super John has been on over the summer, Fraser will be unstoppable. I am delighted the youth set up Hibs reinvented after relegation is now showing the fruits of their efforts. Fraser looks the real deal.
Simon Murray, well in this laddie, who has a duracell battery in his engine, is a fantastic gamble for the club. Seven goals already, its not just that he is in the right place at the right time, its down to his desire, hard work, and importantly his very good reading of the game that gets his goals. His header for his second was very, very clever. His duracell battery must have come from the watch Hibs have won when we signed this kid. I really enjoy watching his movement, very intelligent and so, so hard working.
The Subs (and it gets better!).
Sevently minutes gone and Darren gives way to return of oor Paul, who immediately pulled on the captains armband. Efe switched to the right, Paul slotted in as if he had never been away. Welcome back Paul.
At the same time, Dylan gave way to the first of our Leithuanians, Vykintas Slivka. Wow, this laddie looks a player and really does look like a player Hibernian have just signed from Juventus. I will repeat that, this laddie looks a player and really does look like a player Hibernian have just signed from Juventus. He had the big, drookit Hibs support ooing and ahhing. I cannae wait for this laddie to fit in, as I said, wow. Boyler moved over to the left, Slivka then tortured the Alloa players on the right side of midfield. Wow, just wow.
Ten minutes to go, the excellent Fraser Murray came off for “Matu” Matulevicius, all 6’3″ of a giant. Tall, strapping, who runs like Garry O. He will be difficult to mark, I tell you, the guy is a fit, athletic specimen.
I thought Hibs got it pretty much right today, truth be told, 50 minutes of the game were not great as Alloa and Gollum did everything to stop Hibs playing, but the first and last 20 minutes were very, very entertaining and in the Frasers and our Leithuanians, we have some cracking new players. Professionally done Lenny and Co.
Willie Gollum was hapless, booking Slivka for a nothing challenge amongst a number of stupid officious and often wrong decisions by the ugly wee scrote. Hapless.
Alloa were not too good I am pleased to say. There daft wee group of 20 fans signing Hearts songs, well it says it all.
The Hibernian support turned out in large numbers, given it was tropical storm ‘Boaby’ in Clackmannanshire today. The gazebo was hoachin with soaking wet but happy Hibby’s.
Man of the match, well we saw a very good performance from Boyler, Barts was big, strong and tough, tough, tough, Simon Fraser is great to watch and he scores us goals, tap ins and stoatirs, the 20 minute cameo from Slivka was also great to watch, but the 80 minutes young Fraser Murray gave us was a masterclass. This laddie has just turned 18, whilst slight, he is strong, has a lovely touch, and great skill, scoring one and setting up his namesake for another. A worthy man of the match and I cannae wait to see him develop into a star.
Now, what is missing? Probably another goal scorer, otherwise, I really do think the blend of new signings and excellent laddies coming through means we may just have a cracking team to get behind this season. If ye haven’t got your season ticket yet, get one. If you can get along to Easter Road, do so, I have a feeling we might just witness something special this year.
Thanks Hibs, I enjoyed that.
As a footnote, can I also thank those muppets from Gorgie, the laughs had in the car on the way home tonight were brilliant. Keep up the good work Agent Cathro!
Hibs started their competitive season today against Montrose with a four goal win over the part timers. Two goals in each half were more than enough to take Hibs to the top of the section table after one round of matches and they will go up the road to Dingwall for a much sterner test on Friday night, having given a few youngsters the opportunity to have a run out this afternoon.
Playing with 3 at the back, Porteous got his first competitive outing alongside McGregor and Fonts, with the usual pairing of Gray and Lewis at wing back. Dylan, SJM and Boyle played across the middle with Fraser Murray sitting just in behind his namesake Simon. There was no place in the squad for the returning Whittaker or walkabout Ambrose. Danny Swanson was missing through suspension.
Hibs started brightly with both Murrays, McGeouch and Stevenson impressing. Gary Murray’s laddie was a real handful for Montrose and his former team mate, Sean Dillon, was charged with trying to keep the eager forward quiet. Dillon, it has to be said, for my money was the fittest and best of the Montrose players – his recent full time football looking obvious compared to the wide range of all-inclusive holiday beer bellies on show in away strips reminiscent of yon Hearts strip in season 1985-86. You know, the grey and white one? The one they included in the book The Wrong Colour of Strips? Aye, that one…and it was to prove as lucky for the opposition as that 86 vintage one did for the Gunts.
The official attendance was just over 5000 and I have to say that from our seats in the West we couldnt fathom why it was so high. Perhaps there were more in the West than elsewhere and that accounts for this perception. The East was very sparsely populated. The FF not any better. There were around 200 away supporters who had made the long trip down the road. Maybe all those West Stand prawn sandwiches were also the reason for the 200 gulls that descended from nowhere around half time and then didn’t beggar off again…
Back to the first half and Dylan was pulling the strings in the middle of the park, showing real 360 vision and movement. He is a joy to watch in full flow and both he and Fraser Murray were looking to play in the ginger version at every opportunity. Lewis was getting down the left flank regularly and delivered a couple of tasty crosses from the goal line that were troublesome for the visiting defence. It was one of these crosses that was met by the head of yon Simon version of the Murray clan and converted for the opening goal after 12 minutes. And it wasn’t too long before his younger clansman Fraser added to the tally when he fired a great low shot beyond the keeper and his Alice Band after 22 minutes had passed. The build up play between him and Simon was a joy to watch. And that was the theme for today for the red haired son of Gary. His link up play was very good, his goal return good and his overall play good. It may only have been Montrose but it matters not one jot. He is getting more assured with every passing game in a green and white jersey and that can only be a good thing for us all.
Squirrel, who was less effective today than last week, had nearly scored a cracking goal himself earlier in proceedings but his effort came back off the post just moments before Hibs opened the scoring. Super was more Standard John McGinn today but he was hit several times in the opening period of the game with some meaty challenges going in from some of these players who certainly didn’t need an all day breakfast.
Shot after shot came, chance after chance. The keeper made a decent stop from Simon with his feet before a Sir DG header went over the bar. Another effort from Dylan went wide.
At half time Hibs were rightly applauded off and those of us who had toddled along to ER for the game were very much glad we had done so. It was an enjoyable 45 minutes. Murray (S) made it 3-0 soon into the second half when he timed his run and got the better of his former team mate Dillon, to header home part two of his brace. Hibs had not started the half well, with some sloppy passing, some wandering by Darren putting the back three at risk and passes going astray. They were soon “telt” by the manager to get their act together. Hibs hooked Dylan after less than an hour – why risk anything with a player so precious but so, well, precious? Also leaving proceedings midway through the half were Fonts and then finally Murray. Martin, Shaw and Graham replacing them accordingly.
Graham, who missed the most horrendous penalty during the week, was given a chance to make amends late in the second half after a spot kick was awarded by Son of Dallas. There was a ripple of consternation around the stadium before a round of applause replaced it on his run up. I thought I heard a couple of boos but couldn’t be sure. There were certainly smert ersed shouts to the effect he should remember the Lions tour was finished. He’s not the answer, I’m struggling to remember what they thought the question was in the first place, but he is our player taking a penalty in a competitive match. We need to kinda remember that if he stays. That said, he is at the front of the queue for the boo boys this season.
Hibs ran out worthy winners. The second half not so entertaining or fluent as the first but tonight we sit atop of the league in our section. Next up is a trip to Dingwall on Friday night and hopefully as many fans that can make it will do so. £12 for adults on the gate and there are supporters buses running.
Marciano – square root of hee haw to do. Clean sheet, clean shorts.
Gray – solid outing and could have scored a header in the second half courtesy of another cross from Lewis
Fonts – good hour’s outing before being replaced
McGregor – in charge and the back and untroubled
Lewis – several good crosses in today, the best at the back for me…just ahead of…
Porteous – who looks years ahead of his age and stage. He is going to be needed I suspect when Gray and McGregor are suspended
Boyle – okay but nowhere near the level of impact as last weekend
SJM – not Super, mair Standard John today. By Sauzee he has beefed up over the holiday though.
McGeouch – a Dylan masterclass. 360 play. He’s a star when fit and in form.
F Murray – good first half, some lovely link play and a good goal.
S Murray – he gets better and better. Now we just need to sign a foil for him.
Graham – scored his pen under a lot of pressure.
Martin – neat and tidy play as ever
Shaw – should have scored, missing an open goal late on.
Man of the Match – between Dylan, Wee Murray, Lewis and Big Murray. Wee Murray got it at the game, I’m going with Big Murray. He ran all day, caused real consternation, scored two very good goals and looks like he is absolutely having a ball.
See you all on BT Sport or at Dingwall on Friday
By the end of the game, I had quite enjoyed that. Pre season friendlies allow clubs to try things out, let players gel and suchlike. Just shy of 10,000 fans turned out and witnessed a reasonable game. My main observations are that Sunderland didnae look very good, Hibs are far better when we play two up front and John McGinn has bulked up and got a whole lot better too.
These games always mean lots of changes, the Mackems made 6 changes at half time, we made three all at once at one point, however when we did we looked better, especially the introduction of the second striker. Coming back from 2-0 down to a team who were in the English Premier League last season is no mean feat, we might even have won it at the end?
It was played in a combative manner, especially when Barts and Cattermole started blootering one another and I felt the Black Cats fouled way too much second half.
Star of the day Lewis Stevenson seemed to enjoy the day and I was impressed by the team approach when Lewis was subbed and again when he took the applause from the crowd after the game. There is a real team spirit about Hibernian, I like that.
Rocky had a couple of smashing saves and looks strong, capable and confident.
David Gray, scorer of the winning goal in the 2016 Scottish Cup Final had a good game, he enjoyed getting up the pitch and the competitive approach of the English team.
Darren strolled through the game, he is a rock.
I thought Fonts was wobbly and we improved when young Porteous came on.
Lewis had a smashing game, and enjoyed himself. He linked well with Swanson and then with Boyle when Boyle flipped over. Lewis has been a fine servant to Hibernian and I hope he stays with us the rest of his career, a real professional and absolute gem of a man.
Super John was Hibs best player, first half and especially second. His looks physically stronger and was very hungry. His pass for the equaliser was an inch perfect 40 yarder. I think it was his pass that found Boyler for the first too? I love John.
Dylan played well in parts, although he took an early sore one.
Barts had little to do first half but enjoyed his second half as he went to war with Lee Cattermole. He was quickly subbed before he killed the nippy Mackem.
Boyler played wide and had some decent moves, scoring a good driven goal coming in from the left.
I was a bit disappointed with Swanson, he never looked fit and I am not sure he is a wide man. Some good interplay from him though.
Simon Murray played most of the game up alone and was a menace, I really like the big lad. When we put Graham on it gave more for Simon to work with and he scored his first goal for Hibs following the aforementioned 40 yard SJM pass to Gray who stuck in a good cross to tap into the net.
Subs, well where do we begin?
I think the first three were as follows:
Pennant for Swanson. He is ok, but he cannae cross a ball, no much use when you are a winger. Still not convinced.
Fraser Murray for Dylan. Fraser is a future star I think, left wing last Thursday, centre mid today. very decent young player.
Porteous for Fontaine, as I said above, Hibs looked stronger when the big laddie came on. Looks like another ‘class defender’.
Dunsmore came on from Gray and did fine.
Graham replaced Barts after Barts and Cattermole starting blootering each other. Graham did ok, he mixed it up.
Ollie Shaw replaced Simon Murray and nearly got himself a goal. Once he bulks up, I think Ollie will be a handful.
Finally Calum Crane replaced hero of the day, Lewis Stevenson. Lewis was given a standing ovation from both sets of fans and players. Calum slots in comfortably.
Neil and Gary are clearly still tinkering. I don’t like the single striker thing, we did not look threatening enough. When we went to two up front, Sunderland could barely contain us. Worth considering guys.
I didnae think much of Sunderland, they might have a long hard season ahead of them. Well done the near 1000 Black cats who came up the road, pity you spoiled it a little singing that song about the Gracious Queen, no idea what Quentin Crisp has to do with fitba?
The Referee managed the game well.
Other points of interest, well done both sets of fans for the immaculately observed minutes applause for young Bradley Lowery. Rest in Peace little man.
Also the half time penalties starring Hendo, Stokesy, Sparky and Ian Murray. Sparky scored 2, Nid 1 and the other two none. Just make sure the first three sign their new contracts with us before you let them out the ground Hibs.
Hibs best player was Super John, he was immense. Man of the Match was Lewis Stevenson, the man with two cup winning medals is Mr Hibs.
I enjoyed that, and we can see we have a lean squad and need a few more players in.
I will now hand over the Just Backs to my pal SKII as I head off to the sun with Mrs 1875. See you at Alloa in a few weeks.
Driving down the A1 to Berwick tonight, I almost stopped the car and turned around when my laddie told me the Hibs line up for the match. Almost…the only trouble was we’d already gone through passport control and were in England when we established the seriousness with which the club were taking proceedings. Even the announcer at the ground commented that “We thought they were going to bring a stronger side here tonight folks”. I’m sure they did. Maybe they would have charged less if they realised we were being given a development game in everything but name. Not one guaranteed first team start player made the trip to Engerlund – unless you count the Secret Squirrel in the stand, hiding his new baldie heidstyle under a baseball cap.
Those who were at the game (maybe around 800 Hibees made the trip) and those who picked up my regular texts, will know that there was little to shout about for most of the game. Berwick were well organised and looked to contain our youngsters from the off. A significantly bigger and more mature outfit, they physically filled the spaces that our youngsters were trying to feed the ball into, were tight on them whenever they were in possession and there were a number of meaty challenges, especially on Pennant, who had started in lively fashion.
Scott Martin was partnered in midfield by Fraser Murray, with Pennant and Swanson on either flank. Graham (more about him later) buddied Shaw up top. As I said in some of the texts on the match update thread, I felt that Murray, for all his clever play, was often too far advanced in his support of the two forwards. Almost playing that modern conception of the false No 10, he left Martin having too much to do in midfield on his own at times. Graham, having had a decent outing against Sunderland, turned up in his usual guise of Colin Nish on rollerskates. He was to become the cente of attention when a penalty was won by Danny Swanson and the big felly stepped up to take it. Unfortunately, the ball ended up half way to the Hook of Holland when he skied it several metres over the bar.
Hibs huffed and puffed but never looked like blowing anyone’s house down. Berwick huffed and puffed and were possibly unlucky not to go in ahead at half time after a 1 v 1 situation transpired in the dying seconds of the half. I’m giving Laidlaw the benefit of the doubt in saying that he did everything required of him in staying large and forcing the forward wide. Shrink’s summation is possibly as equally close to the truth. He simply called the Berwick striker a puddin’.
At half time on here I commented that I felt the game needed the introduction of Handling and Stanton. And so that seems to have been a shrewd call/guess. The introduction of both made a difference. Danny took a bit longer to get going, giving us a couple of fresh air swipes that even Graham might have struggled to do, but Sammy made a difference from the off. Playing with their heads up, physically just a bit more mature than the development boys and looking to play the others, including Pennant, into the game more, they helped take the team up a level. At the same time, it is also probably fair to say that the physical side of things came into things as a factor. Our players appeared stronger the longer the game went on. I know you would hope that to be the case but it was good to see it was. Stanton was pulling the strings but it was a fortunate ricochet, after a muck up by former Hibs youth keeper Brennan, into the path of Handling and he didn’t need a second invite to put the ball into the back of the net. Having travelled 50 miles and spent £50 on doing so, I was grateful to him for finally making the break through. But maybe not as grateful as Colin Nish’s giraffe like twin.
The longer the game went on, the more likely Hibs were to score and Shaw netted a well taken second goal to make things look a bit more respectable.
Final Score 2-0
Laidlaw – had the square root of hee haw to do but he did all that was asked of him
Crane – a solid outing but Lewis won’t be losing his jersey any time soon
Porteous – another good performance. He has the physicality needed to make the step up. He was the best of the back line
Waugh – went off in the second half after a sore challenge on him. A decent outing
Blake – on trial. Im not sure he did enough
Pennant – good lively start where he was fouled a fair bit. Drifted out of the game for a period where the formation prevented either him or Swanson getting enough of the ball. Maybe the last time we will see him in a Hibs strip? Who knows…
Martin – worked his backside off fetching and carrying, hassling and harrying. A Martin masterclass
F Murray – a talented player and some nice football again tonight but maybe showed his lack of positional sense a few times
Swanson – disenfranchised in the opening quarter due to little service, won a penalty well only to see a giraffe on rollerskates miss it
Shaw – potential is there, took his goal well but this is not the answer (yet) to replacing Jason
Graham – the good twin played on Sunday, this was the bad twin
I Murray – okay outing for a development game
Stirling – ditto
Mackie – not on long
Stanton and Handling – if we let these two go whilst our squad is still this bare then we need our bumps felt. They are not the answer but they showed that they are closer to the first team standard than most of the young uns on show tonight. It’s confidence, physicality and maturity. I dont think either has a long term future at the club but the cupboard is bare and they made a difference when they came on.
Squirrel – a wee cameo performance from the stands. He’s nuts.
Man of the Match – a choice between Martin and Porteous of the players who played most of the game. Man of the Second Half would have been Stanton, for me.
Have a good holiday in Spain @1875. I’ll be on duty again on Saturday. I hope not, erm, to make a pig’s ear of it…
Hibernian ran out to a large away support, looking different in their new home kit. A pleasant summer evening with enough chill to justify the tasty Stephens Steak Bridie and Bovril.
A start for Crane, Porteous, Shaw, Pennant and Swanson saw Hibs plod their way through a pretty uninspiring first half, although Danny Swansons goal was well taken after some lovely play from Crane down the left. Second half saw McGregor, Lewis, Simon and Fraser Murray, Martin and Super John starting the second and what a difference, Hibs were rather good to watch second half, even better when Boyle came on for Pennant.
Stand outs were the Murrays and SJM, Martin was quietly efficient and Porteous magnificent.
Dunfermlne were not a bad team, good football second half put them to bed. Well played Hibs.
Nice to see Rocky back, he had one very good block and one fumble. Replaced by Laidlaw at half time.
David Gray, captain of Hibernian when we won the Scottish Cup on May 21st 2016, scoring the winning goal, had a good game.
Fonts started and strolled though the game before being replaced by Daz at half time.
Porteous had a smashing game, he played very well and reminds me a lot of Paul Hanlon. I expect much of this laddie, he looked at ease and a very good defender.
Crane played left back first half, and as replaced by Lewis at half time. The laddie done well and was a key part in Swansons goal.
Barts played first half and got tore in. Martin replaced him at half time.
Jermaine Pennant played wide right and played a few nice balls but looked lightweight. Scored a decent goal after a wonder pass from Super John, and was then replaced by Boyler.
Dylan McGeouch had a good first half before making way for Super John.
Danny Swanson scored on his debut and looked hungry. He will score us goals. Replaced by Fraser Murray at half time.
Brian Graham started up front and was pretty poor, I am sorry to say. Simon Murray replaced him at half time, what a difference.
Ollie Shaw looked lost first half, the big Pars defenders bullied him. He looked much better with Simon Cheese String Murray beside him. Took his headed goal very well after a sublime chipped pass from Super John.
The subs and there were many……..
Laidlaw had an easy second half.
Lewis dashed up and down the line like a young un. I think his Kirkaldy upbringing ensures he tries extra hard when playing Dunfermline?
Daz took no prisoners, he doesn’t though, eh?
Scott Martin sat in Barts role and gave us far more than Marvin for me. I like him, Scott could fill the gap left by Fyvie.
Fraser Murray had 20 minutes of brilliance when he came on, I enjoyed watching this fast attacking left winger. He has something about him.
Boyle scored, again from a great pass from Super John. He gave Hibs a bit of spark.
Super John was ehhh super, three great passes to score all three second half goals. I love John.
Simon Murray was a handful, I think we will like this boy, he never stops running the ball down, chasing and fighting and does it with a good fitba brain. Another player I think will do well for us.
All in all, a good run out and lots and lots of promise. I know the hand wringers are all in a flap, and I can see we are 3 or 4 players away from a really good team, but the one we have is shaping up nicely.
Dunfermline will be a decent team this year I think, some nice fitba but miles behind Hibs in style and ability.
The ref was fine.
I am glad I went straight from work in London this evening, I enjoyed it, especially second half.
I would guess 1500 Hibs fans there, certainly a much bigger support than I expected, given the lack of interest on the bounce. Well done Hibs Fans.
My man of the match was Ryan Porteous, I thoroughly enjoyed watching a young Hibs player play so well in a tough position. He is the new Paul Hanlon, even though the old one is pretty good himself.
Hope to see as many of you as possible at Lewis testimonial on Sunday, if ever a player deserved a good turn out, its Lewis.
Hugh set off on the first leg of his charity bike ride for Sarcoma UK this morning from Easter Road where he was given a sent off by Colin Millar, Hibernian FC Communication Manager and several St. Patrick’s Branch members at 9.00am .
Hugh finish the first leg, much of it in pouring rain, reaching Hampden at 6.00pm, a distance by bike of 82 miles, he lost an hour however at 52 miles when his chain snapped and had to go to a Bike Shop in Cumbernauld.
Hugh would like to thank all that helped him reach over 100% of his fund raising target for Sarcoma UK.
He will finish his bike ride/stadium tour tomorrow at 4.00pm at Easter Road and members are more than welcome to be there when he gets back.