It may not have been the silkiest of goals to grace an Edinburgh derby, but Paul Hanlon has confessed it will take a lot for him to eclipse the equaliser he scored against Hearts on the way to Hibernian’s historic Scottish Cup triumph last year, writes Iain Collin.
The defender’s personal history as a player in the fixture extends back to 2009, and even further into the past as a supporter of the club. He will run out for his 23rd instalment of the capital’s rivalry this evening as the Easter Road outfit attempt to make it eight derbies without defeat against their oldest adversaries.
The 27-year-old hopes there will be plenty more memories worth cherishing in future, but admits it will take something special to outshine his injury-time equaliser at Tynecastle to complete Hibs’ late comeback from 2-0 down to earn a cup replay in February 2016.
“The goal in 2016 was definitely my derby highlight,” he said. “It was a special goal, it got us the replay. I still get fans talking about it now and obviously the fact we went on and won the cup makes it even better. Being a Hibs fan as well it’s one I remember. It’s not until you look back at that run you realise how important it was to keep us in the cup. I just remember sliding in with my right foot, it probably looked more like a slide tackle than a volley or anything like that. It managed to go through the bodies and then the stand erupted.
“As a boy, you’re involved in that as a fan and it’s amazing – but to make it happen on the pitch was an unbelievable feeling. I think with these games, when something like that happens, it feels more like a win than a draw.
“How do you top that? By scoring the winner!”