After 110 years of hurt, fans feel the pain grow stronger

Both sets of fans craved not only a win but the humiliation of their rivals

hampden park

The joy of the Hearts fans was an afterthought. There was the full range of mockery to exhaust before their attention turned to triumphalism. It became an exercise in taunting the Hibernian support. The agony was prolonged, since the game was effectively finished as a contest early in the second half. The fans wearing green and white who trudged from their seats at that moment probably considered their escape an act of mercy.

The disappointment was immediately felt, but its impact carried greater force because of past events. History was an obtrusive presence. These two teams last met in a Scottish Cup final in 1896, but that distinction seemed a quirk when measured against the fact that Hibs have not win this trophy for 110 years. Every year accumulates with a painful resignation, but the anticipation of this game was framed around the opportunity for Hibs to end their hoodoo, or for Hearts to glory in their oldest rivals maintaining it.

"You've no' won the bug cup since 1902," was the chant the Hearts fans revelled in while empty seats began to appear throughout the opposite side of Hampden. It became a rout, which was an accurate reflection of the merits of the two sides, but also of the contrast in mood between the two sets of supporters. Much of Edinburgh made its way across the country for this final, but the journey home was more urgent for the Hibs fans, who were seeking sanctuary.

The event always had the capacity to overwhelm the participants. There was desperation among both sides to prevail, because failure carried such a devastating significance. The rivalry was the quality that charged the occasion and set it apart from other finals. It could never be mundane, but there was no malice in the air. Fans of both sides mingled outside Hampden before kick-off, and some even shared transport through from the east of Scotland for the game.

The day was so significant that sacrifices were routinely made. Hearts fans who had travelled from New Zealand were interviewed by television camera crews on the steps outside the stadium before the game, while three Musselburgh Juniors players missed their team's crucial relegation game against Hill of Beath to attend the game. The promise was always that the outcome would be so memorable that it could not be missed.

Scotland felt the fixture was remarkable enough for many neutrals to consider the game one of the most important in the history of the competition. The noise, the colour and the intensity was an expression of this anticipation, but also the passionate craving of both sets of supporters not only to win, but to humiliate their rivals.

Individuals became prominent, though, and Rudi Skacel continued to haunt Hibs, scoring twice but also allowing the Hearts fans to indulge their hero worship. Ian Black, a midfielder capable of heedless acts of aggression, restrained his temperament enough to be the game's most influential player.

The Hearts players could grandstand – Black took an age to leave the field when he was substituted. He is out of contract in the summer, and has announced his departure from the club he grew up supporting. The afternoon was heavy with emotion, but he could at least savour his. Marius Zaliukas, Hearts' captain, had to wipe away tears before he lifted the trophy, and the rest of the players soon returned to the main stand to collect their children and join in the on-field celebrations.

Pat Fenlon, the Hibs manager, was overcome by darker feelings. He was sent to the stand by the referee, Craig Thomson, just before the end of the game. After the final whistle he returned to the pitch even though he was still barred. Officials followed him, and allowed him to shake the hand of his counterpart, Paulo Sergio, but Fenlon then sought out Thomson and his assistants. James McPake, Hibs' captain, joined the manager in rebuking the match officials, presumably for the dismissal of Pa Kujabi, the full-back, when he conceded a penalty soon after half-time. Hibs had recovered enough to bring the score back to 2-1 just before the interval, but Kujabi pulled Suso Santana's jersey before tripping him for a deserved second booking.

Hibs' grievances were useful only in deflecting from the ordinariness of their display. The team narrowly avoided relegation this season, and there was no sudden recovery of form, confidence or capability, despite the occasion.

The day belonged to their oldest rivals, who claimed it with an emphatic and joyful authority. The trophy was earned, and the heartache had also to be borne.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine