IF THERE is pressure in mounting a defence of a cup you have won for the first time in 114 years then Jason Cummings did a fine job of dissipating it this week.
With pro-wrestler Grado in the Hibs canteen, the striker adopted the moniker “Cumdog” as he hammed up a preposterous pantomime in what would appear to be a successful attempt at lightening the mood ahead of
Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen.
The faux wrestling video attracted a substantial audience on social media and perhaps underlined the fact that Hibs have very little to lose as they limber up for their game against Derek McInnes’s side, who currently sit second in the Premiership table.
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For Alan Stubbs, it was an insight into the camaraderie that exists within his former dressing room.
“I’m all for that – I think it is great,” said Stubbs. “It gives you a marker of the team spirit among everybody. You saw the number of people involved in the canteen, so it gives you a really good indicator of how close they are.
“I know how close they are, they are a great bunch of lads. I’m delighted for them, I really am. I’m not disappointed in any way – about wishing it was me or whatever. Not at all. I couldn’t be any happier for them – Leeann [Dempster], Rod [Petrie] George [Craig], Graeme Mathie [head of recruitment], all the staff. I’m over the moon for them.”
There were more sober moments between Stubbs and Cummings when both were at Hibs last season, although the former Easter Road head coach believes that, contrary to the evidence this week, there has been a maturation in the striker’s outlook.
“My kick up the backside was when I’d bring him into the office and speak to him,” said Stubbs. “We had some harsh words at times. Sometimes I was pulling my hair out with him. But the one thing was that I wanted to be there for him – I wanted to be there to help him, I didn’t want to cut him away and let him make the same mistake again.
“He was caught up in a couple of unsavoury incidents, off-field stuff we tried to help him with. He’s got his own apartment now. He’s done a lot of talking on the pitch and that is what we all want to keep reading about, what Jason’s doing on the pitch. He wants to learn and be as good as he can be. And if he does that who knows where he is going to be.”
The 45-year-old had been linked with the Dens Park post following the sacking of Paul Hartley, but Stubbs has maintained he never tabled a formal note of interest in the role.
“I don’t know where it came from,” said Stubbs. “I was surprised when I got a text from a few journalists asking about it. I didn’t know anything about it. I know I was high up in the odds but it wasn’t my money. I am hoping something comes along in the summer.”