Just found it - nice piece on our victory: http://www.theirishvoice.com/sports.html
Originally Posted by Glorious St Pat
Irish eyes are certainly smiling on Hibernian FC
AMID the commemorations of the Easter Rising this year, is it perhaps too poetic to think that one of the Rising’s leaders, James Connolly, who supported the club as a boy might have been looking down with a smile upon Hibernian FC as they lifted the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1902?
It was another Irishman, however, who had a more direct involvement in bringing the trophy back to Leith. Anthony Stokes was the standout performer in a Hibs side that were by far the better team on the day, scoring two goals in a 3-2 win over Rangers, who are still looking to win their first major trophy. Stokes opened the scoring after only three minutes with a brilliant individual goal, before former Hibee Kenny Miller equalised with a header to send the teams in level at half-time. Rangers then took the lead after 64 minutes courtesy of an Andy Halliday strike and many Hibs fans no doubt began to fear that the writing was on the wall for their team once again.
However, the Edinburgh side stuck to their task and were rewarded with an equaliser of their own 10 minutes from the end when Stokes bulleted a header past Foderingham in the Rangers’ goal from a Liam Henderson corner. The Dubliner was unlucky not to bag his hat-trick a short time later after Foderingham beat away his shot from a tight angle as Hibs battered the Rangers defence.
The drama didn’t end there though as another Henderson corner in injury time saw Hibs captain David Gray head the ball into the net, sending the Hibees in the stands and watching on the TV into rapture and bringing the trophy (above) back to Easter Road after an agonising 114-year wait. It was no more than the Hibees deserved.
After the final whistle went, many of the Hibs’ fans—caught up in the euphoria of finally winning the Scottish Cup after so long—streamed onto the pitch to celebrate and while a minority of fans from both sides engaged in some mindless fighting, nothing could take the shine off the cup final win.
“They say every cloud has a silver lining, and today we have got that silver lining,” Hibs’ boss Alan Stubbs said after the match. “I am quite emotional. I probably dreamt this—I thought we were going to win the game 3-1 weeks ago.
“I knew the players were so disappointed last Friday [after their Premiership play-off semi-final defeat by Falkirk] but I saw by their reaction on Monday they were ready for this game.
“They are history makers. You work with them every day and they had a lot of bad luck against them, so to see them achieve it is fantastic.”
The celebrations were slightly tempered in the aftermath of the cup final, however, when it was announced that Stubbs had been given permission to speak to Rotherham United, with a view to becoming their new manager, which he duly did at the start of the month.
“I’ve had two really good years at Hibs and it wasn’t an easy decision to make on the back of what we achieved at the end of the season,” he said shortly after his departure. But I felt that the opportunity at this club was one that I couldn't refuse.”
The emotional roller-coaster for Hibs fans didn’t end there though as the board moved swiftly to secure the services of former Celtic manager Neil Lennon (above inset)—and his assistant Garry Parker—a move that has been seen by the club’s faithful followers as a real statement of intent and one that they hope will propel them back into Scottish football’s top flight for the 2017-18 season.
While the Irishman didn’t have the best of times during his tenure at Bolton for a myriad of reasons—mainly financial—his record at Celtic was extremely impressive winning three league titles, two Scottish Cups, qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League twice and securing a famous 2-1 victory over Barcelona.
Hibs’ Chariman Rod Petrie and Chief Executive Leeann Dempster both expressed their delight at having managed to secure a coach of Lennon’s calibre.
“We are delighted to have secured a Head Coach of Neil’s calibre and profile, and we look forward to him bringing his drive and mentality to our campaign to win the Championship this season and secure promotion back to the top flight of Scottish football,” Petrie said.
Leeann Dempster, Chief Executive, added: “As soon as Neil was identified as the outstanding candidate we were determined to bring him to Easter Road. He has managed at a very high level, taking Celtic to the last 16 of the Champions League, and we were attracted by his ability to get the most out of players and his driven, winning mentality.
“On behalf of everyone at Hibernian FC we would like to extend a warm welcome to both Neil and Garry.”
Lennon wasted no time in endearing himself to the Hibees during his first dealings with the press as the club’s manager, where he outlined his overall aims and what he expected of his players.
“The remit is to gain promotion and that’s the challenge that lies ahead for me,” Lennon said. “I think Hibs is one of the biggest clubs in Scotland. I think it’s probably punching below its weight the last couple of seasons and I think the potential here is huge to get it going again.
“There’s a culture here that the club plays good football, going back to the Famous Five. And I want to buy into that. The teams that Tony Mowbray produced were good footballing teams. They did really well finishing third and fourth. That’s where we want to take the club to but the mentality has to change a little bit. I think there is a huge monkey off their back with winning the cup. To lose to Falkirk in the way they did and then pick themselves up five or six days later and beat Rangers in a cup final showed a hell of amount of character. They can take a lot from that but they’re going to have to show that character week in week out next season if they want to play for me.
“I don’t want them getting pats on the back for beating Raith Rovers or drawing away at Dumbarton. I’ll give them a pat on the back if they get promotion. They’ve got to learn quickly. It’s not acceptable for a club of this standard. Inconsistency won’t be tolerated.”
So the message from the new manager seems to be that this season’s party is over, but if the players put the effort in, they could be celebrating again in a year’s time and taking their rightful place in Scotland’s top league once again.