Stubbs told Hibs to end Ham­p­den cup hoodoo and write their own his­tory

Easter Road man­ager rev­els in end­ing 114-year wait for glory

The Herald - Herald Sport - - SCOTTISH CUP FINAL - NEIL CAMERON

ALAN STUBBS ad­dressed his play­ers the night be­fore Hiber­nian his­tory was made and told them not to be­come just another los­ing team to be sneered at and mocked for all time.

No more gal­lant losers, no more Hib­s­ing it. Not this time.

Stubbs saw in the eyes of the troops that they were ready, not only to win the Scot­tish Cup for the first time since 1902, but to stop their foot­ball club be­ing a joke. He asked them to present Leith with its great­est foot­balling day and ev­ery last one of them de­liv­ered.

“It is not their fault the club has had a 114-year wait,” said Stubbs. “What we spoke about be­fore the game, and over the last cou­ple of days, was that they had an op­por­tu­nity. All you ever want as a player, whether it’s be­ing se­lected in the team or to play in cup fi­nals, is that you have an op­por­tu­nity to change some­thing.

“They had that on Satur­day. We spoke about it on Fri­day night, as in don’t be another chap­ter in terms of be­ing another team (that loses). Be the team that cre­ates a whole new chap­ter and a whole new place in his­tory. They cer­tainly did that.

“I don’t know when it will hit home. You can see how much it means to the foot­ball club. It has been that other peo­ple have mocked us. If I was a fan, and it was Ever­ton-Liver­pool, I would be the same. When you are a fan of another team and it keeps hap­pen­ing, you em­brace in peo­ples’ in­abil­ity to change.”

It did ap­pear as if the fi­nal was keep­ing to the script. Hibs were the bet­ter team, had taken the lead, missed lots of chances, but, with the game com­ing to its con­clu­sion, they were trail­ing Rangers. How fa­mil­iar.

This time, though, was dif­fer­ent. An­thony Stokes equalised and when Hibs cap­tain David Gray sent the ball into the net two min­utes into in­jury time, the man­ager knew that was it. Their time had come.

“My emo­tion straight away after the third goal was that we’d done it,” said Stubbs. “When you score so late in the game it does rip the stom­ach out of the other team. We have ex­pe­ri­enced that our­selves and so I know how dif­fi­cult it is to come back from that.

“It was every­thing: re­lief, ex­cite­ment, eu­pho­ria. But prob­a­bly the big­gest one is re­lief.

“I thought it was a re­ally good game, wor­thy of a Scot­tish Cup fi­nal.”

So is ‘Hib­s­ing it’ con­signed to the rub­bish bin?

“We have to play our part be­cause when we do lose a lead or do lose a game, then you are open for crit­i­cism,” said Stubbs. “Some of the crit­i­cism can some­times be right and there are other times it is harsh.”

Stubbs is now a mes­siah down Leith way and far be­yond.

There was no part­ing of the sea, but there was some pass­ing of wa­ter which seems to have brought much-needed luck.

“I missed the sec­ond goal be­cause I had gone for my rou­tine toi­let break,” he re­vealed. “We scored in the last cou­ple of games when I was away, so there may have been an el­e­ment of hope rather than any­thing. It’s be­cause I drink so much wa­ter and cof­fee be­fore a game.”

Stubbs cer­tainly rel­ished yes­ter­day’s pa­rade around the streets of Ed­in­burgh, staged in front of an es­ti­mated 150,000 sup­port­ers, and hopes Hiber­nian’s his­toric win can in­spire his own son, Sam, onto a glit­ter­ing ca­reer.

Stubbs en­joyed a re­served Satur­day evening, toast­ing the tri­umph with his fam­ily. It was a spe­cial mo­ment to share with his 17-year-old son, cur­rently on the books of Wigan Ath­letic.

“Sam who is just about to take his first step on the lad­der after com­plet­ing his first year scholar at Wigan,” said Stubbs. “He now has a mem­ory, see­ing this foot­ball club and me as a man­ager lift some­thing.

“For for him to see that – and, hope­fully, take some­thing from the oc­ca­sion – was fan­tas­tic for me. Look­ing at him now I’d say he’s bet­ter than me when I was his age.

“All my early me­mories would have been based around Ever­ton, see­ing them win­ning the FA Cup and walk­ing up the old Wem­b­ley Way, and maybe he has some­thing sim­i­lar now.”

Through all of his suc­cesses at Celtic, Stubbs was de­nied the op­por­tu­nity to sam­ple an open-topped bus pa­rade in Glas­gow and he was over­come by the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I did it once at Bolton, but not on that level,” he said. “It was mind­blow­ing. I know Satur­day was spe­cial for the play­ers, but none of them will for­get the pa­rade.”

Of course, the fall-out from the post­match vi­o­lence con­tin­ues. Hibs’ vic­tory was not over­shad­owed as some have sug­gested, nor will it be­come some foot­note, but the scenes at the end did tar­nish the day and Stubbs is aware that his club could end up be­ing hurt de­pend­ing on what pun­ish­ment the author­i­ties deem ap­pro­pri­ate.

“I don’t con­done that [Rangers play­ers and staff be­ing at­tacked] what­so­ever. In fact, if that’s the case, it is very poor. I will try to con­tact Rangers.”

S WEET RE­LIEF: Two-goal hero An­thony Stokes is hailed by Hibs skip­per David Gray, left, and James Keat­ings

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