Cabs Cup Chance – again!
In the last Hibs update at the end of 2012, I told you all how the team was starting to play badly, and that they had a lot of games to play around Christmas and New Year. The two biggest games were against Celtic at home – we won 1-0, and against Hearts at their stadium – we drew 0-0. Not bad, for us.
In the league we have only won one game since this year started! We beat St. Mirren away from home 0-1. Counting the Hearts game, we have drawn five games and lost five games. Absolutely terrible! At this moment we are 9th in the league with 40 points. Celtic have 69 points and Hearts 37 points.
The Scottish Premier League is a strange league. Let me explain how it works. There are twelve teams. Each team plays the other eleven teams three times, which equals thirty-three games. At this point the league is cut in half and the top six teams play five games together, and the bottom six teams play five games together. I personally don’t like this system because it’s only exciting if your team is trying to win the league or a place in Europe, or if your team is trying to avoid relegation. If your team is in the middle, like Hibs are, then there is nothing to play for, no excitement.
So, Hibs have five more games to play in the league, and the best we can hope for is to get more points than Hearts. On May 12th, we play Hearts for the last time this season at their stadium.
BUT, the cup is different! Maybe you remember two things: 1) Hibs haven’t won the Scottish Cup for 111 years!; 2) last December we beat Hearts in the 4th round of the cup 1-0. This year we beat Aberdeen 1-0 in the 5th round, and Kilmarnock 2-4 in the quarter final.
This is why I am writing.
Last Saturday was the semi final. We played Falkirk, a team from the First Division, at Hampden Park, the national stadium where Scotland play their games (Scotland last played Spain there in October 2010, the score was 2-3 to Spain). It was the typical game that Hibs should win easily, but you knew was going to be difficult.
I didn’t know how difficult it was going to be!
Once again, I went to a local Irish pub to watch the match. After 6 minutes, 17 year-old Craig Sibbald opened the scoring with a great goal for Falkirk. 12 minutes later, 19 year-old Jay Fulton made it 0-2. To finish the first-half humilliation, 21 year-old Blair Alston score a third goal on 30 minutes.
Half-time: Hibs 0 – 3 Falkirk. We were playing one of the worst games I’ve ever seen Hibs play (and I’ve seen lots!). Some Hibs fans left the stadium after the second goal. (I think that’s wrong. You should always stay and support your team.) We were getting beat by a group of teenagers! (The nickname of Falkirk is ‘The Bairns’. This means ‘The Babies’. Appropriate.)
I had little hope for the second-half, but then Alex Harris scored a fantastic goal for Hibs on 51 minutes. It was a different team. They were controlling the game, had all the possession of the ball, and were pressuring constantly, but no more goals came. There was a shout for a penalty, but the referee didn’t give it. There was another shout for a penalty. This time given. There was hope. Leigh Griffiths, our best scorer with 20 goals in the league and 3 in the cup, was going to take it. He shot, the goalkeeper saved it, it bounced out to Eoin Doyle, he shot, the keeper saved again. Aaahhhggg!!! A nightmare.
Hibs continued fighting and finally on 78 minutes Griffiths scored the second. Now there was a real possibility. Doyle scored 5 minutes later. It was 3-3! A miracle! After the bad penalty miss, both Griffiths and Doyle made things good again. Hibs scored again before the 90 minutes finished, but it was offside (fuera de juego), maybe. There was another possible penalty, too.
So, it was extra-time, 30 minutes more, and then a possible penalty shoot-out. Oh the nerves! I was in a mess! Not a lot happened in extra-time, until, with only 5 minutes to play, Leigh Griffiths got the ball on the left, advanced towards goal, and from 25m, fired the ball into the goal. Hibs were winning 4-3!!!
I couldn’t believe it. I was running around the pub celebrating with the one other Hibs fan who was there. We were immensely happy. Finally the game finished, and one of the all-time worst Hibs games ever, changed into one of the most amazing football matches I have seen in my life. It was fantastic, unbelievable, incredible. It was deserved. We deserved it.
Dundee United played Celtic the next day in the other semi final at Hampden. The score was also 4-3 in another mad game which also had extra time. Celtic won.
On Sunday May 26th then, Hibs will play Celtic to try and finally win the Scottish Cup after 111 years waiting. After the complete madness of the semi final it’s not too important what happens. If we don’t get humilliated like last year, I’ll be happy. If we win, I’ll be the happiest Hibs fan in Barcelona, and one of the happiest in the world.
I’ll tell you all what happens, ok.