Hibs v Dundee extras: Easter Road attendance mystery, Cummings and Griffiths fans' treatment, Scott Brown in the building and 'highlights, what highlights?'
Extras from Hibs’ 1-0 win over Dundee thanks to a stunning own goal from Paul McMullan, the visitors’ winger. Next stop Hampden for Hibs...
Man of the match: Normally the match winner would be a shoo-in for such an award but because he played for the losing team in Dundee and his most significant moment was bulleting a header into his own net that might be slightly perverse. McMullan did otherwise have a good game for the visitors until he was subbed for Jason Cummings with 13 minutes left. There were few outstanding contenders for Hibs in what was a fairly unspectacular performance but Martin Boyle caused Dundee all kinds of havoc in the first half before fading in the second. Christian Doidge came on for Chris Cadden and put in a good shift while Lewis Stevenson stepped in for Josh Doig and was as dependable as ever.
Letdown: What’s the point in announcing attendances when they are as skewed as the one here? The crowd was given as 13, 516 in a Tannoy announcement in the second half and the rumble of mirth was audible. There could not have been more than 9,000 actually present including 4-500 from Dundee. Not bad when you consider it was a midweek night shortly before Christmas but still not great when it’s supposed to be a send-off ahead of a cup final. Hibs rightly battled hard to secure over 19,000 tickets for Sunday’s Premier Sports final against Celtic but this wasn’t a good look on a night when they so badly needed a win to brighten the mood before the countdown to Hampden.
Referee watch: Gavin Duncan. Overly fussy and did not allow the game to get going. Dundee manager James McPake certainly didn’t seem happy with the man in the middle. One does wonder what Ryan Sweeney said to the referee to get himself sent off a mere matter of seconds before the final whistle and whether it really necessitated a second yellow when a far from heated contest was already all but done.
Giggle of the game: The Tannoy announcer excitedly invited those fans already in the stadium a few minutes before kick-off to enjoy “highlights of the season so far” on the jumbo screens in the corners of Easter Road. “What, will they stop at the end of August?” mumbled one cynic in the press box. In actual fact they managed to fish out a lot more than that. It made one wonder why on earth they had just sacked the manager who was responsible for these rousing clips. It was notable that the action reel stopped rather abruptly in Perth on 27 November and before a run of results that cost Jack Ross his job.
Heroes return: The subplot involving the return of Leigh Griffiths and Jason Cummings to Easter Road was always going to be intriguing. Hibs fans feared being speared by one or even both of their former players, who enjoyed such fruitful spells at Hibs. So why was one booed when he came on and the other cheered? Cummings was first to make his entrance after 77 minutes for McMullan and was met by a surprising amount of booing for a Scottish Cup hero of 2016. Griffiths, meanwhile, trotted on two minutes later for Max Anderson and was greeted with hearty applause from the home stands. Can it be something to do with one having since played for Rangers? Neither were on long enough to really affect the game.
Directors’ box watch: All eyes were on the directors’ box before the game in case a potential manager-in-waiting was present. Scott Brown was one interesting guest. Before Aberdeen fans start wailing, Brown, as well as having started his career at Easter Road, is a good friend of Hibs’ head of marketing Greg McEwan. But he is also a former teammate of Shaun Maloney at Celtic so maybe we should watch this space….
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