Before discovering the brilliant football nation that’s called Scotland, there were only 2 clubs in Scotland, I knew something about. I’m ashamed to admit it, but back in the day it was like that. It was either Glasgow Rangers – no known of course as Rangers FC – or Celtic. I’ve always felt more attracted to Celtic than Rangers FC, can’t explain you why. But that’s how it is.
Of course I read a lot about the beautiful names of Scottish football. Hearts of Midlothian, Queen of the South and Dunfermline Athletic. Wow. I knew about the glory days of Aberdeen, but somehow my first visit to Hibernian FC changed absolutely everything.
I know I’m kind of an odd dude, especially with football. But I like the pure rawness of a football club. The essential being of the sport and that was what I found in Hibs. I know I could go the easy way and support Celtic or Rangers. I suppose I could choose the glorious Aberdeen or Hearts. But no, that was not for me. I choose the club that I could identify the most with. The struggle life, the deep lows and eventually sweet, sweet, sweet victory that. Victory that tastes so much better than the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich winning the European Cup. The taste of cheer victory after you have through relegation and misery, is something I can’t describe.
Saturday, May 21st 2016. A timeless triumph
So after more than 10 times visiting Easter Road, one of my finest moments was there: the Scottish Cup final. I needed to be there. So I was. 114 years Hibernian FC waited to lift the Scottish Cup, it was a curse and everyone was oh so scared that their heart would be broken again. They faced Rangers FC, the fresh champions of the Scottish Championship.
Hibs opened the score after just 3 minutes of play, Anthony Stokes with the goal. The feeling was immense, because Stokes had his best time at Celtic, so he was always going to love a goal against Rangers. To see that Rangers scored twice and seeing the time ticking, everyone was distraught. 10 minutes to go in a Scottish cup final against Rangers. Not again…
But Stokes, proved to be a golden boy once more and he netted the equaliser. And I was so euphoric and happy and hugged random people. It didn’t matter, we had a life line!
I’m telling you. I’ve seen over 30 last minute winners in promotion finals, cup finals and European cups, but I don’t think there have been many feeling like this one. Hampden park is amazing to be at, but if you see your team put in a 92nd minute winner. There are going to be absolute scenes. That bullet of a header was the symbol of every frustration from the Hibs fans over the last 114 years and I was so excited, gassed and emotional. There were so many tears shed on the stands and there was a proper pitch invasion after the final whistle. Wow.
After all the shenanigans on the pitch, the moment arrived. The moment that made feel part of Leith. I experienced how the people of Leith had suffered personally, but also with Hibs. Those people took me in as one of their own, let me see what it meant to be a supporter of Hibernian FC with all the struggles. So when the speakers played that first seconds of Sunshine on Leith, it was magical. As I’m writing this, I feel the goose bumps already. I feel the tears I felt then, coming up to myself. It was pure passion, emotion and relieve. Brilliant.
Leith, Hibs and the Proclaimers. Truly magical.
Watch this video and you’ll know what I’m talking about.