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Its going to be difficult to write this, post-Cup Final and knowing the score, without removing most of the hope and optimism that I’m sure I was feeling for most of Saturday. But I thought, as they do on the BBC website, that I would give you a timeline of my Cup Final weekend.
I’ve just come of stage in Darlington and realised that there is a bloody Cup Final this weekend….. aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgh!
The last month has been leading up to a nationwide comedy competition held in Darlington, which I was fortunate/unfortunate enough to be invited to take part. My focus has been entirely on that and not on the spectacle this weekend. Having done the gig and then had an audience member tell me I was “f**king hilarious but just not quite Russell Kane enough” for him, I cant help but think “Why did I come here?”
If nothing else it served as a welcome distraction and something to focus my nerves on instead of the game.
Well, it’s one day closer and now the only thing I have to take my mind off the Cup Final is deciding which suitcase I should take to Glasgow for the weekend ( I settled on the Green edged one).
I’ve just been to place a bet on the game tooo. Darren Barr to score first and Hearts to win 5-1 at odds of 1000-1 (OK, that’s clearly a lie, but who would have placed THAT bet??) I did place a bet. Blackpool to gain promotion and Chelsea to win on penalties in the Champions League Final. £432 back if that comes in (Leave it! I’m laughing at the irony of Vaz Te scoring the winner as much as you are).
I’ve travelled through to my Uncle Dave’s (podcast listeners may be aware of him already after he got us into Broadwood to record the podcast in the Clyde boardroom) to spend the night here before we stay in a hotel in town on Saturday night. I know what you’re asking, WHY? Why spend money on a hotel in the city if you could just taxi it back to your Uncles perfectly usable house in Glasgow? Well, to explain that I need to tell you the Semi-final story. After the Aberdeen game my Uncle Dave and I headed to the city centre where many, many, oh so many, celebratory drinks were consumed and then Dave headed home. He arrived only to realise he couldn’t find his key, then proceeded to throw some stones at the bedroom window to wake his wife, who then let him in ( I’m sure she considered leaving him out there, but there are only so many pebbles in the garden before a drunk man picks up a boulder and figures “that’ll do the trick”). Once inside the house Dave proceeded to drop a foot-long Meatball sub over the new cream rug and fall asleep on the couch with Sportscene playing at a level so loud that I imagine Pat Nevins wife, in bed on the other side of Glasgow, thought he was talking in his sleep a lot that night. Hence, our invitation to get a hotel for the final.
Our Friday night involved a few drinks and a game or two of FIFA (Hibernian 1-Hearts1. Hibs win on penalties) before calling it a night and trying to sleep for about an hour with nerves, anticipation, hope and fear all coursing through my system.
Ill need to break this down even further I’m afraid.
08:38 Wake up
11:04 Get on train to Glasgow Central to check into our hotel on George Square. The plan is to drop the bags off now and actually get into the room after the game.
11:37 Apparently it’s not the George Square branch of this hotel, but one located “approximately 15 minutes away”.
11:39 After some brief haggling I’ve persuaded the Receptionist to allow us to leave our bags here and pick them up later before heading to our other hotel.
11:59 Walking to the Horseshoe bar
12:01 Dave spots an arts and craft shop selling coloured hair spray.
12:03 £5.99 lighter and 2 cans of hairspray heavier we arrive at the Horseshoe.
12:04 There are NO Hibs fans in this pub, its rammed but I’ve a distinct feeling the people we are meeting are in the bar opposite having a right good laugh at the window, watching us struggle our way through this pub.
12:05 Turns out they’re in the back corner, with seats and a table. RESULT!
12:06-13:55 Mainly alcohol (2 pints) and optimistic chatter. Also a slightly crazy obsession with “signs”. Sky Sports have put all the trophies up for grabs today (Champions league, Scottish cup, Heineken cup) on screen with “Day of Destiny” as the tag-line. Interestingly, the Scottish Cup has had green ribbons added onto it! IT’S A SIGN.
The barmaid has given me a £1 Note, its green. IT’S A SIGN
That grass out there…… IT’S A SIGN
13:56: 2 cans of hairspray later, I have green and white stripes. [See photo] Dave has gone all green with my feeble attempt at 7-0 in white on the top.
13:58 Thankfully the cab driver has baby wipes to help me stop the dye running down my neck and into my eyes. It may have been a better idea in theory than in practice.
14:16 Hampden won’t let people in the turnstiles unless it’s the one printed on your ticket. So a sprint around the housing estate [Tenements, surely? Ed.] is required rather that a walk around the Hampden Concourse.
14:21 Heart palpitations due to a 2 mile sprint rather than the pre-game jitters.
14:35 I’ve taken my seat, every Hibs seat has a flag on it and there support is amazing, the hair is standing up on the back of my neck.
14:36 Oh crap, I forgot there are 15,000 Jambos located to my left and then the realisation of what’s about to happen hits home hard and I’m getting very nervous.
14:39 moment of respite from the nerves as we celebrity spot Grant Stott, Darren Jackson, Steven Fletcher, and Scott Brown in the surrounding rows.
14:51 I tweet a pre kick-off picture. The atmosphere really is amazing, flags are waving, the two huge banners over the pitch add to the sense of occasion.
14:54 the teams are out, the fireworks are going off and I’m wishing I’d booked that “spend a night on a desert island” experience I saw in a magazine months earlier.
First thing to notice is that Ian Murray isn’t playing, and Osbourne has been stuck out on the right, but I don’t think anyone has told him that’s his job today. There appears to be no one out there at all.
15:03 Ian Black should really be off, He has just jumped into the back of Griffiths at full pelt, which is fair enough, but the elbow jutting out crushed into Lee’s kidneys in what I think is a shocking challenge
15:14 GOAL Shocking defence. Hearts already look the far better side and this will just spur them on.
15:27 GOAL Well, if you give Skacel 3 yards space to turn and shoot on his better foot then what exactly are you expecting?
15:29 Dave and I decide if its 3-0 at half time were leave
15:30 We take back that decision and decide to stick it out.
15:42 GOAL We are obviously all jumping around celebrating but there is a clear feeling that Hearts can just up the tempo now and get another.
15:57 The teams come out for the second half. WHAT ARE THEY DOING? I’ve seen many a football game and I cant say I’ve ever seen players walk out so half-heartedly. Only one goal behind yet they all look like they just want to head home, or back to their other clubs.
16:04 Penalty!! Never. In true Arsene Wenger style I wasn’t in the best place to see it, but the fact that half the Hearts end didn’t even jump to protest the penalty makes me think it wasn’t. Well this is a nightmare, still 11 Vs 11 with 40 minutes left… Oh wait! Kujabi is sent off. EXCELLENT.
Yeah, two goals that quickly!
Its at this point I did something I’m not proud of, or have ever done before in 20 years of following Hibs live, I walked out. I couldn’t take it anymore, watching the Hearts end of Hampden jumping up and down and having such a party wasn’t something I could stomach. It was all too much. I walked up to the Foyer and stood watching the match on the telly by the food stands.
It was a low moment. I needed something to grasp at, and then Steven Fletcher came over. NICE ONE. Got a picture with Fletch and had a chat with him about “the good ol days” and what the hell was going on out there.
I walked out of Hampden only to be accosted by Real Radio and asked a serious of bizarre questions (all based around the penalty I hadn’t really seen) and, on 2 occasions, mentioned Scottishcomedyfc.com knowing it wouldn’t make the edit. As Dave was talking to them, BANG, the 5th goal went in.
I could have accepted defeat by a Hearts team that was simply far better than us, if we had tried, if we had gone out there, fought for every ball, closed down the player and if failing that at least someone had smacked Ian Black (that’s a joke Ian, you actually played a blinder, but should probably have left the field 2 minutes in).
If all that had been done I could have walked out of Hampden after the medal ceremony and held my head high. Rather than walking, sorry trudging, a few miles staring at my shoes and… OH F*ck…. I’ve got to go to the bloody city centre to get my case only to come all the way back to this side of Glasgow to check into the hotel!
After this it mainly goes alcohol, pity, depression, slightly more alcohol, chatting to strangers, all very sympathetic, utter indifference, mild rage (at the Cabbage and Ribs performance, I’m not that kind of drunk) despair, acceptance. Another little bit of alcohol, some sort of dancing, food, taxi, bed, sleep.
I’ve struggled for the best part of a day now to move on, find some good, see some sort of bright side.
I’m still struggling………………..
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About the Author
Richard Hunter did his first stand-up gig in 2007, and that experience turned out to be so amazing he didn’t set foot on stage again until 2009. In Australia. After 2 years of travelling around the land Down Under (leave that joke alone) he came back to Britain and started gigging 9 months after his return. Apparently it takes time to get of your arse and look for gigs, plus it was best if he waited until his teeth stopped chittering. He has been taking stand up seriously for around 8 months now and has written for News Jack on BBC radio 4 and is to be seen in new BBC Three comedy drama Pram Face. Although if you go to make a cup of tea you will probably miss him. He is a lifelong Hibernian fan/sufferer who sincerely believes that he will see Hibs lift the Scottish Cup before he gets married, but please don’t pass on that information to his current girlfriend as she may want to be married before 2050. As well as the Cabbage & Ribs, Richard is also a big Newcastle Utd fan.
“Richard’s greatest asset is his ability to read and entertain the audience“
Edinburgh Evening News
“A class act, it wont be long before he is seen on his own rather than supporting others“
“Can you please clean your room and do the bloody dishes“
Every person I’ve ever lived with. 1990-Present