Neil Lennon has, today, led Hibs back to the top flight.
I am delighted, both for Neil and for the club.
I have a not-so-secret soft spot for the Hibees, as regular readers will be well aware.
I know a lot of their fans and have enjoyed many days in their company.
Hibs have been out of our league for too long, but they’ve done an excellent job of rebuilding the playing squad in the intervening years. They’ve nurtured great players like Cummings and signed some fine ones like our own James Keatings.
In short, they’ve done it right, which is only to be expected at a club where Rod Petrie runs the show.
He, like Peter Lawwell, believes in a sustainable operation, one that knows its limits but always seeks to grow beyond them. That things have worked out so well should be evidenced in their run to the title this year and the fact they’re back at Hampden for their second Scottish Cup semi-final in a row. I hope they get to the final and help us turn the national stadium green and white, although, as I’m sure their fans understand, that this is the extent of their success!
Beyond admiring their club and its fans, and having Neil Lennon as manager, there’s another reason for wanting to see Hibs back in the league, and it’s this; their club has been a key ally of ours over the years, and I would think that will continue.
Aside from Rod Petrie, Leann Dempster has been excellent for Scottish football and along with her fellow Edinburgher Ann Budge I think the future of the game is in good shape, with fresh ideas and inspiration behind these two clubs.
Scottish football needs these people, and in partnership with Peter and Stewart Milne at Aberdeen, along with the folk at St Johnstone, who Lawwell speaks highly of, we can really do big things. This is the kind of progressive alliance we need; it’s just a shame that Dundee Utd’s isn’t already certain to be representing the SPL too.
That may still happen; fingers crossed that it does.
These people all believe in the same thing; they believe in a game run straight and true, with the following of the rules. They’ve adapted their clubs to the reality of financial fair play without that existing as the standard for the league; it’s a matter of time before it is, and these are the people who, hopefully, will push the concept on the governing body.
Rod Petrie’s FansTV scheme is also something worthy of thinking about. In 2012 Neil Doncaster prevented it from happening, using the situation at Ibrox to hammer the SPL into accepting another agreement with Sky, a company that treats us with contempt.
Sky aren’t the only ones who treat the game with contempt; the Ibrox operation is made up of people who do that. Petrie won’t allow his team to come up, having played the game right, only for their future prosperity to be threatened by a club that doesn’t.
Their promotion is good news for all of us.
I am delighted to welcome them back to the Premier League.
You have been missed, friends.