JASON Cummings is questioning whether he wants to play another game in Scotland.
Not because the Hibs striker wants to engineer a move elsewhere, although that could still of course happen in time.
Not because of the chaotic scenes that engulfed Hampden stadium after Hibs’ Scottish Cup win over Rangers – perhaps predictably, he relished this emotional response and was in the thick of things with the fans at the end.
But simply because he wonders whether he can ever trump the pronounced joy he felt on Saturday.
“I’ve retired from Scottish football, never mind Hibs. That’s me retired from Scottish football, it can’t get any better,” he joked in the aftermath.
Cummings had been replaced by the time Hibs staged their late comeback. But the striker had already produced an industrious shift in the 65 minutes he was on, helping set up Anthony Stokes’ opener.
There will be the inevitable stories linking Cummings, who has scored 20-plus goals for the second consecutive season, with a move elsewhere. Indeed even Rangers, Saturday’s beaten opponents, have been credited with an interest.
Cummings has been offered a new contract but has so far declined to sign an extension to his current deal, which has another year left to run. He admits he finds the thought of playing European football with Hibs very attractive.
“I’m contracted for next season and as far as I’m aware I’ll be back in for pre-season at Hibs, that’s all I know,” he said. “We’re in Europe now and that’s another good reason for me to come back.
I meant to get caught up in it! I was in there trying to enjoy the moment. I thought I’d stay out and enjoy it a wee bit longer with the fans and milked it a bit
“I think I should be coming back, like.”
Cummings was in irrepressible form, as you’d expect from such a self-assured performer. He got Hibs to the final with the decisive successful penalty in the 4-2 shoot-out win over Dundee United in the semi-final.
But he also placed their dream in grave doubt when he tried, and failed, to execute a ‘Panenka’ penalty, gently chipping his first-half kick over goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima – and the bar.
Even as recently as a week before the final he was creating headlines by having a kickabout – in just his socks – at Edinburgh’s Saughton Enclosure with friends.
He described this extra- curricular activity as good practice for Saturday: “That was the key to us winning today, that wee kickabout in midweek with the boys. I don’t know if Stokesy would have got that assist if I hadn’t gone out with the boys!”
But Cummings is more thoughtful than some might imagine. Informed he won’t ever have to buy a drink in Leith again, he said he’d test whether this claim is true over the coming days.
But he was also quick to make sure others who had contributed to the success, and who were not there on Saturday, received credit. He praised the part played by striker Dominique Malonga, whose stunning goal against Raith Rovers back in January sealed Hibs’ win in a hard-fought fourth-round encounter. Malonga has since moved to Italian Serie B side Pro Vercelli.
“The boys that played and scored the goals [should get the credit] but also the ones on the bench and even someone like Malonga who put one in the top bag in the first round to put us through,” he said.
“So it’s not just the boys in the final, it’s everyone. It’s the coaching staff, the physios. I’m buzzing for everyone at the club.”
Cummings, one of the last to leave the pitch at the end as the fans swarmed on, doesn’t regret putting his personal safety at risk.
“I meant to get caught up in it!
“I was in there trying to enjoy the moment. It’s a moment that doesn’t come around every time, so I thought I’d stay out and enjoy it a wee bit longer with the fans and milked it a wee bit.
“It’s passion, it’s football, you are going to get that especially for Hibs fans and everyone knows what a day it is for Hibs, it’s a historical day. The first time in 114 years, no-one in this lifetime has seen Hibs win the Scottish Cup.
“So you are going to get passion. If it didn’t happen you’d wonder what was going on.”