In an astonishing final ten minutes at the top of the Championship, Lewis Stevenson suffered a head knock and, according to his manager Alan Stubbs, didn’t know whether he was “on the park or down the disco”. But he wasn’t the only one left shellshocked.
Jason Cummings came into the press-room after Hibernian had earned a last-gasp draw and, for the first time that any of us could remember, didn’t crack a funny. The effort put in by the team to play more than half the match without the red-carded John McGinn had been huge. The normally loquacious striker looked shattered.
Stubbs looked drained, too, remarking that there would be “20” twists and turns in this league before the end when he meant “plenty”. Of course, if the likes of Falkirk and Morton, who were within eight minutes of beating Rangers at Ibrox, are going to continue producing such battling results, maybe 20 won’t be far off.
READ MORE - Question marks as Rangers are held again
And it was all Fraser Fyvie could do to say that this Hibs team would run through a brick wall for each other. Then he said: “We’d run through a brick wall for each other.” It seemed that, in this game, they’d done exactly that. No wonder he was repeating himself.
Those ten minutes included the head-clash, Hibs thinking they could pull level with Rangers, followed two minutes later by them wondering if they’d fall six points behind. Lee Miller’s goal had put Hibs in trouble; Martin Boyle rescued them. At the end, a fan was heard to say he’d wished he’d worn gloves. But it wasn’t that cold, remarked his pal. “Naw, but look at how much I’ve bitten aff my fingernails.”
At the end Hibs were exactly where they were before; three points from the summit. And Falkirk were where they were, six behind Hibs, but having reminded the top two of their existence. They play Rangers on Saturday and want to win that one.
“We felt coming to Easter Road that this could be the day when people say, ‘Falkirk can stand up to the two teams at the top of the league’,” said Mark Kerr. “If we’d held on and won that would have been us right in it. We’ll be the same against Rangers – positive – and, at home, we believe we can get the victory.”
The midfielder was booed by the home support for exactly 48 minutes – the time that remained after John McGinn was sent off for fouling him. The fans thought Kerr had over-reacted but he showed us the scrapes on his shin. “It’s not just the marks,” he said. “Because I had to jump I jarred my knee. I’d never try to get someone sent off. I don’t stay down – I like a hard tackle! But I don’t think that one was malicious.”
Even with only six minutes left, the ever-confident Cummings thought Hibs could come back. “It shows our fighting spirit to go and get that equaliser,” the striker said, adding that he was unaware Rangers had fallen behind. “The crowd were loud, but I just thought they were getting behind us because they always do. I only found out afterwards Rangers had drawn. It’s a wee buzz for us to learn they’ve dropped points.
“This might seem like a chance missed because we could have won and got right up to where Rangers are. But, down to ten men against a decent team like Falkirk, going behind late, you’d take a draw. It could be a massive point for us come the end of the season.”