Why Hibs' Jack Ross has one big Scottish Cup question - inspired by an Aberdeen captain
Of all the Scottish Cup finals watched and recollections treasured, there is one moment that jumps to the foreground when Hibs manager Jack Ross’ is asked to rummage through the memory vault.
“I remember Willie Miller lifting the trophy one-handed!” he says.
The Easter Road boss, who will lead his team out at Hampden on Saturday in the hope of progressing beyond Dundee United and into the May 22 final, would have been just five the first time he saw Miller hoist the nation’s premier cup aloft. That wasn’t the last occasion Miller lifted that particular trophy – he won a dozen major trophies, including four Scottish Cups – but every time the Pittodrie legend repeated the feat, the impact on the young Ross was just the same.
An iconic image that portrays the Aberdeen captain as somewhat cool and most definitely a winner, in the mind of one young football fan at least, it also, apparently, hinted at some Herculean strength.
“That was always the thing for me, we all dreamed of winning the cup but I would be wondering if I would be able to lift it one handed if I ever won it because I was never sure how heavy it was or how strong he was to be able to do that!
“It is a daft memory but for me it was something that stood out amongst it all. I was born in ‘76 so there were a lot of games where he was lifting the trophy.”
When Ross speaks of the Scottish Cup he does so with a dewy-eyed reverence that taps into those childhood recollections. There were the crowds, the noise and, at a time when televised football was a distinctly more limited treat, there was the communal air of excitement and anticipation, regardless who was playing.
“I would like to take credit for this, but there’s a quote from an athlete [US gymnast Mary Lou Retton] that says something like jerseys and medals eventually gather dust, but memories get better with age, and I think that’s a brilliant way to look upon it when you’re trying to emphasise how big a deal it is to go and achieve success.