London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2005-06--> All for 20060422
<-Page <-Team Sat 22 Apr 2006 Hibernian 2 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth Aidan Smith auth-> Charlie Richmond
[D Riordan 15] ;[A Benjelloun 78]
11 of 099 Roman Bednar 45 L SPL A

Such a gay day in the Hibs camp


THE melody seemed too tricky, but a few early arrivals in the Jambo end were willing to give it a go. When the Easter Road public-address belted out Bruce Springsteen's 'Born To Run', the Jambos tried to marry it to their favourite chant - "Oh the Hibees are gay".

But this didn't work nearly as well as the 'Seven Nation Army' version sung at Hampden during the Scottish Cup semi-final, and even though the Hibs-oriented DJ declined to provide the musical accompaniment yesterday, the Gorgie hordes quickly reverted back to the White Stripes anthem.

Ah, the Edinburgh derby. You cannae whack it for merry banter. And how gratifying for me - after a season trying to support the enemy - to be back among the Hibee Nation. But, respect to the Jambos: when they sang their song before kick-off at Hampden, I thought it was pretty funny. We didn't have a response and so it felt like we were 1-0 down before a ball had been kicked.

In the final SPL derby of the season, then, I was hoping for better. Cue Jambos (to Jack and Meg White's showstopper): "Oh the Hibees are gay."

Cue Hibbys (same choon): "Oh Paul Hartley is gay."

Was that it? Was that the best we could come up with? What about changing "In your Gorgie slums" to "In your Colin and Justin madeover Gorgie bijou apartments with heavy use of crushed velvet and 47 varieties of pink"?

So. Could the Hibs team muster a better challenge than their fans, and a better performance than the limp one they offered at Hampden? Putting partisanship to one side, this was going to be important for the future of the ancient capital city rivalry because many Jambos believe it's over. And judging by their team selection yesterday, so do the Hearts management

Three key players were left out. When Valdas Ivanauskas was quizzed on Radio Scotland's Sportsound about Rudi Skacel's omission, he said: "It's not safe." Did Ivanauskas really think that big, butch Jay Shields would rough up Rudi?

Easter Road yesterday was no place for Judy Garland fans, but that's why we love derbies. The football was frantic and in the stands the chants bounced back and forth. OK, it was always the same chant, but you get my drift.

Then Hibs scored. Shields - all 3ft 2ins of him - steamed into Hartley. Ivan Sproule horsed down the wing and crossed poorly. But a ball delivered behind him, on a badly rutted pitch, is no problem for Derek Riordan - Deek Riordaninho - and not for the first time, but possibly the last in this fixture, he blurred a shot past Craig Gordon.

During 2004-5 I felt like Katie Holmes, before she'd even got it together with Tom Cruise. What I mean is, sitting among Jambos, unable to acclaim all those Riordaninho stonkers, made me empathise with wee Katie last week as she honoured her fiancé's wish that she give birth to their daughter under Church of Scientology rules. That means nae bawling and cursing, which is the mother's prerogative and indeed the football fan's.

This term, firmly back in the Church of Hibernianology, I've had to look on as a previously barren Hearts have broken up the (un)happy marital home of the Old Firm. Not since the 1980s have Celtic and Rangers faced a threat to their union. Then it was another couple, Aberdeen and Dundee Utd. Now Hearts fancy they can cause domestic mayhem all by themselves. Bazza Ferguson must feel like Princess Di: "There are three of us in this marriage and it's a bit crowded."

Fair play to Hearts. Celtic and Rangers being bundled off to Relate is something all fans outwith the Old Firm want to see. I just it was Hibs being named as the third party. Still, there's always the derby...

But then there's Ziggy Malkowski. Bang on the interval, the Celtic-bound Gary Caldwell and the surely-now-Siberia-bound Hibs goalie got themselves in a right fankle and Roman Bednar grabbed the easiest of equalisers. Half-time brought yet more of the camp call-and-response stuff, with Hibbys and Jambos competing over who had seen Starlight Express the most times.

I feared the worst in the second half and Hearts, my one-season flirtation, came back strongly against Hibs, my true loves. It was urgent, grappling, desperate and passionate. Kind of what you imagine Brokeback Mountain II would be like.

But then Tony Mowbray brought on Scott Brown, possibly the ungayest man in the history of everything, and he turned the game back Hibs' way. Hearts let loose Skacel, but it was Brown's intervention that proved decisive. As Brown puts it so eloquently, Old Scott would run around "cementing" the opposition. New Scott hurts them with electric football. Mind you, when he squared up to Hartley I feared the worst. The ref invited them to kiss and make up but Brown was having none of it and neither was the much-abused Hartley.

The winner came from Abdessalam Benjelloun. Hibbys are still undecided about Benji, although obviously now his legend is assured forever. On his long celebration run he was heading straight for the Hearts end until he was intercepted by Ziggy on the goalie's 18-yard line, easily the best save I've seen him make.

And that was that. Joy and pain, laughter and tears - what a game! The Easter Road sound-system played out with 'Gay Bar' by the Electric Six and we all got home in time for Graham Norton on Strictly Dance Fever.

Heartfelt: Supping Bovril From The Devil's Cup by Aidan Smith is published by Birlinn, price £9.99.

Taken from the Scotsman

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