Fraser Fyvie looked back, all the way up Leith Walk and was staggered by the sea of green and white. For a guy who says he hadn’t realised the club had been waiting well over a century for a Scottish Cup win, the magnitude of the celebrations and the wealth of gratitude was surprising.
But it is that sight of fans swarming behind, alongside and in front of the open top bus, as the team paraded the silverware, that the Hibernian midfielder says will live with him forever.
“Dave [Gray] scoring the goal was the main [memory], but also looking up Leith Walk off the open-top bus and not being able to see a bit of street. It was just people everywhere. It was fantastic, unbelievable. I didn’t expect scenes like that.
“I couldn’t believe how many fans turned up and what they were saying to us. People were thanking us because it obviously meant so much to so many. Generations of people had passed without seeing us win the cup, so it clearly meant a lot to people that they were able to say they were there. It was crazy scenes.
“I never grew up as a Hibs fan, so the 114-year stuff didn’t bother me personally. I didn’t even realise until we won it that it had been 114 years. I didn’t have a clue. We’ve won the cup, we’re happy, but now it’s competition time again and we want to try and retain it. Obviously the fans have had a great buzz since we won it. I don’t really look back on it much, to be honest. It’s in the past – we need to look forward to a new competition this year.”
The 23-year-old, who returned from his injury lay-off last weekend, managing a full 90 minutes as the team carved out a league win over Dumbarton to retain their place at the top of the Championship, recognises the part that trophy triumph has played in pulling fans, players and staff together this term and the psychological boost it has given Neil Lennon’s squad on the park. Having already safely stashed that medal, Fyvie sees the experience of that day as a springboard to more celebrations.
“Even now, Hibs fans are still absolutely delighted with it,” he said. “As a club we’re thriving off the success we had last year. For the players and fans, it’s given everyone the belief we can kick on and win more cups and hopefully get promotions. As footballers, you want to win trophies and win leagues. You want to be remembered by winning things. That’s what we’ve all got to strive for.”
The task for now is to do all that they can to retain the Scottish Cup, starting today, against non-league Bonnyrigg Rose. A reprise of last season’s cup run would be welcome according to club chief executive Leeann Dempster who joked that many at the club were already suffering from separation anxiety at the thought of having to hand the trophy back.
“I’m told we have to give it back but whether we actually do that or not, I’m not quite sure!” she said. “To be honest, the people in the club who have been part of this Persevere tour, they have spent five or six months with it so it will hit them harder than anybody.
“Joking aside, we will need to hand it back but while we are still in the competition we have a chance to retain it and get it back. But, for now, it’s the same old adage, of taking it game by game. We won the competition last year and that was magnificent but that was last year and we have to look at this year.”
With a new cup campaign to deal with, the Persevere tour has come to a conclusion. But after years of superstitions and talk of hoodoos, the fact that so many Hibs fans were able to get their hands on the trophy is one of the best by-products of the Hampden success, according to Dempster. “The guys finish their 250th event on Saturday – and they have visited 114 primary schools,” she said. “Around 50,000 people have managed to see the Scottish Cup and get their hands on it. That is brilliant for us, but also good for football. It brings the game into people’s lives when they maybe don’t get to games. That is probably the lasting experience, that sharing of the trophy.”
But sharing it with other clubs is not something anyone in the dressing room is keen to do as they set out to follow up that 114-year drought with two successive triumphs.
“I don’t see why not,” said Fyvie. “We won it last year, so hopefully we can kick on again this year.” And with their junior hosts opting to switch today’s game from their New Dundas Park ground to a sell-out Tynecastle, Fyvie considers it the perfect place to kick-start their latest quest, returning to the ground where they battled back against Hearts last term to secure a fifth-round replay. They won that, ousted Inverness and Dundee United and then defeated Rangers. But it was that fightback from 2-0 down, with ten minutes remaining, that proved the catalyst, according to the midfielder.
“I think that result definitely kicked us on,” said Fyvie. “That game at Tynecastle gave the squad a real belief and togetherness in terms of the resilience and determination we showed to go to the death and take the tie back to Easter Road.
“Tynecastle is a great place to play football, so we can only enjoy going there. It’ll be a good occasion in a good stadium, but we want to go through. As the manager says, it’s our cup to lose. It’s a privilege to win a cup but the competition starts all over again so we’ve just got to look at the Bonnyrigg game as another one we want to win. We won’t be taking them lightly.”