The onset of a new Scottish Cup campaign will always conjure fond memories for Edinburgh City’s Danny Handling.
Four seasons ago, the midfielder was a peripheral member of the Hibs squad which made history under Alan Stubbs by beating Rangers 3-2 in the 2016 final to bring the old trophy back to Easter Road for the first time in 114 years.
As he prepares to kick off his latest tilt at the tournament when City host North Superleague heavyweights Banks O’Dee in a second-round tie at Ainslie Park on Friday evening (kick-off 7.30pm), Handling took time out to recall his minor involvement in one of the most famous stories in Scottish Cup history.
“I was on the bench for the semi against Dundee United and in the 20-man squad for the final but me and Kevin Thomson didn’t get selected in the 18,” Handling told the Evening News. “I had an inkling I wouldn’t be involved because I’d been injured for most of the season and I’d only just come back a few months earlier. It was a delight just to be on the bench for the semi and even just to be a part of the squad on the day of the final was something to cherish.
“There was obviously a bit of disappointment at not being involved because the ones who play are always remembered but equally not many people can say they were in the position I was in. For me, it was just good to be a part of it. I celebrated for four days afterwards so I think I enjoyed it as much as anyone! Even though I didn’t get on the pitch, to have been part of the preparations in the build-up and the celebrations afterwards, you can never take that away. I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.”
Handling, who got a late outing for Hibs against Celtic as a teenager in the 2013 final, insists the magic of the Scottish Cup will never wear off no matter what level he is playing at. “Obviously having been part of such an epic part of history for Hibs, the Scottish Cup is a competition that will always be close to my heart,” said the 25-year-old. “It’s always a tournament I want to do well in and I’m pretty sure most players and clubs feel the same way. A little bit of luck along the way, and you can go far in a cup. I know it was only the Challenge Cup, but we got to a semi-final last season. Anything can happen in cups. Obviously this game against Banks O’Dee is a totally different occasion to the Scottish Cup final but it’s the same tournament and every player on both teams will be desperate to get into the next round.”