Most strikers, having made fools of themselves on national television by trying to be clever and dink a penalty over the goalkeeper, only to have it blow up in their faces, would have wanted the ground to swallow them up. Or, at the very least, to be hidden from view for the rest of the match.
However, Jason Cummings is not most strikers.
When this Scottish Cup semi-final reached penalties and Hibs manager Alan Stubbs asked his players who wanted the responsibility, Cummings’ hand shot into the air.
It wasn’t just a sense of making up for his earlier wrong. Cummings, pictured below, is a young man who craves the headlines. Sometimes it can get him into trouble, like when his first-half “Panenka” drifted over the crossbar, much to the anger of his supporters and manager, but at others it’s a great strength to have.
As he strode forward to take what would prove to be the winning kick, he didn’t display the same look of terror that most players do when they are about to take on the nerve-racking experience.
Instead, he was wearing a big smile on his face. You could tell that he was really enjoying the moment.
“I was just thinking to myself that I couldn’t write a better script than this. After what happened, I couldn’t believe that I was going to get the chance to win it, to get the chance to go from zero to hero,” said the 20-year-old a short time after he dispatched the ball past Dundee United keeper Eiji Kawashima, putting Hibs into their third Scottish Cup final in five years.
“I was hoping to get the winning penalty and I asked to be put on one of them, either fourth or fifth.
“Then, as I was watching, I started to realise that it was going to fall on me.”
At Cummings’ winning kick, the United goalkeeper had remained rooted to the spot. This must have been in hope, or perhaps expectation, that Cummings was the only player brave or daft enough to try it again.
Surely this was an error in judgment? Even Cummings wouldn’t try to chip the goalkeeper again... would he?
“Yeah I thought about it,” admitted Cummings, “but then if I missed I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk down Leith ever again.
“The player I am, I just like to try things and be a bit different. Obviously it didn’t work out, obviously I’m not the same calibre as Zinedine Zidane. I do it in training quite a lot, to try and fool the keepers. The keeper does normally go to a side so that area of the goal is normally open, but instead I just skied it.
“I’m good mates with the United centre back Coll Donaldson. He was just saying ‘I can’t believe you did that’ and he called me ‘a rocket’.
“I’ll do it again in the final, definitely. Or maybe I’ll tell the keeper that I’ll do it and then put it in the corner.”