Off we go to Edinburgh for a midweek soiree.
And here we go for our first European game in a long time. The Conference League might have been ridiculed when it started, but Europe’s Europe and look at the fuss when West Ham won it last season. Here we are in August and with the weather shite at home there was the bonus opportunity of a few days in one of the sunspots of the continent.
Did you ever watch Trainspotting?
So we’re travelling up the M6, M74, A702 and a few side roads to get to Easter Road and Hibs. You’re not telling me that the ghost of Bert Millichip didn’t have a hand in that draw. Hibs have been going almost as long as we have and for the past hundred years they’ve been about as good at winning cups as we are. They’ve got Joe Newell, whose ingrained footballing obsession will no doubt get aired to the point of tedium and their manager is Lee Johnson. who used to manage Bristol City and moaned that we shouted too loud when we beat them, or something. On a happier note they’ve also got Harry McKirdy and Jake Doyle-Hayes playing for them, both of whom were on our books a few years ago.
On an even happier note they’ve provided us with some fine midfielders over the years. We signed John McGinn as the bargain of the century and the old arses amongst us will tell you that he’s still only the third-best ex-Hibs midfielder they’ve seen playing for the Villa. Him, Des Bremner and Alex Cropley; legends all.
What our team will look like is a bit of a mystery. I’m sure Unai will be taking this tournament seriously but then again while we’re not (yet) at the stage of get there early enough and you’ll get a game, we can’t afford many more injuries. We know all about the problems of early rounds cup ties and there’s not a team in Scotland who wouldn’t want to beat the English more than anyone else but surely whatever side we put out will do enough to make the second leg straightforward.