“WE’RE on our way from misery to happiness” sang two of Hibernian’s most famous fans, The Proclaimers – a refrain which has for 111 years failed to find resonance on Scottish Cup final day for the legions from Edinburgh’s green half.
After nine lost finals since 1902 they travelled again yesterday, more in hope than expectation, worn down by past let downs, to witness the latest instalment of Hibs’ cup hoodoo.
From a Celtic fan, there was sympathy for their opponents’ plight but also relief that it was not his club that had allowed the jinx to lift.
Hibs supporter and Scotland’s sports feature writer of the year
“Hibs have lost so many cup finals – ten since the last win, I’ve witnessed five of them – that the manner of defeat is starting to repeat itself.
“This was a dead-ringer for 2001: sunny day, wild singing at the start, then the injury being carried by the talisman becomes apparent (Franck Sauzee in ’01, Leigh Griffiths yesterday) and in the end a muscular Celtic run out comfortable 3-0 winners.
“Yes, we do neat symmetries and a ‘good day out’ (Wey-bloody-hey). Just not you-know-what.
“It was Lloyd Quinan, former weatherman, ex-MSP, full-time Hibby, who told me about Leigh in those daft, delirious pre-kick-off minutes when old friendships are re-affirmed (Hello, Tom from Fopp Records!) that fans of this club have had to reluctantly accept are as good as cup finals get.
“We wanted the manager to be positive – two up front – although didn’t bank on him starting without a defence. I don’t want to criticise too much because Celtic – with Scott Brown, formerly of this parish, at his snappy, annoying best – were very good. We couldn’t expect too much of young Alex Harris (not yet) or our hirpling hero. (Come on, Rod Petrie, it’s oblong-shaped and often dusty blue. It’s called a chequebook. Sign Leigh Griffiths!)”
Hibs fan and former Scotsman columnist
“We don’t do winning of cups. End of story. That was my ninth losing final in League Cup and Scottish Cup. It is something you just have to get used to being a Hibs fan.
“There was a great atmosphere before the game and even at the end. It was the 90 minutes in between that were the problem. If you look at it with a clear eye you can see that Hibs today were limited and Celtic were just very good. Maybe the ambition of the club does not match the ambition of the supporters.
“It’s probably been like that throughout the ages, but at least this was an improvement on last year.
“Football fans are great kidologists but the truth is that the form team usually win. The expectation is always there and I honestly don’t know what I would have done if we had won – it might have been too much for me. With hindsight the highlight of the day was the bacon rolls we had before the bus left Edinburgh.”
Hibs fan and The Scotsman’s Sports Editor
“The Hibs fans were fantastic to the last. A few may have trickled away before the end but most of us stayed and cheered them off. I feel proud compared to last year. At 2-0 down in the first half it could easily have gone the same way but we held on and were probably the better team in the second half.
“The team did well on the whole, given that we have blooded a number of young players this season, but we were just not quite good enough on the day coming up against the SPL champions on top form.
“Not quite good enough this time but maybe there will be other chances. I know all about what people call the weight of history stretching back, and all the losses over the years. I feel that weight. It is there all the time but it doesn’t stop me thinking that if we keep knocking at the door, one of these times we will batter it down and go right on through.
“I suppose you call it faith. Faith in my club. Blind faith. But it never falters. I still believe it could happen, that we can win the cup one day.
“I may not be alive to witness it but my children or my grandchildren might get the chance. Genuinely, it could happen.”
The Scotsman’s SPL Fanzone contributor for Celtic FC
“I have a lot of sympathy for Hibs because they started well and if Forster had not made that early save the game could have been very different. I know the history, of course, and how Hibs have not won the cup for so long, more than 100 years. I’m just glad it wasn’t against us that they got rid of the hoodoo. There was a lot of pressure on Celtic to win because a lot of fans felt winning the league was not enough for a club like ours with the resources we have at our disposal. There have been signs of complacency during games throughout the season when we haven’t played to our full potential.
“I was hoping that the likes of Hibs and Hearts and Aberdeen would step up this season and the challenge would come from a number of fronts. It looked as if it might happen at the start but didn’t come about.”