SOME people saw it as the end of the journey when Hibernian finally lifted the Scottish Cup in May after a 114-year wait. Those inside the club, however, saw it only as the start.

What is the point – they reasoned - of finally realising a dream of such magnitude if you can’t then share that joy with others?

To that end they have put together the “Persevered” Scottish Cup trophy tour, a four-month meander across 114 venues in the east of the country that will take in stops at schools, offices, universities, workplaces and supporters clubs.

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There is an underlying message to the whole thing – never give up, kids – but the tour will also look to achieve two other objectives. The first is to convince those fans perhaps still in shock that their team really did win the trophy at Hampden. And the other is to use that success as a catalyst to engage with those who aren’t Hibs or even football fans and try to hope the burgeoning feelgood factor will be enough to entice them to one day pay a visit to Easter Road.

They did not have to work too hard to persuade a rather partisan audience at their launch event yesterday, the pupils of Hermitage Park Primary School in nearby Leith almost giddy with excitement at the sight of the trophy as well as visiting Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster and “cup legend” – as one child called him – Martin Boyle. Their troop back to the classrooms following a quick Q&A in the school assembly hall with Boyle was soundtracked to a rather raucous rendition of a selection of Hibs songs, their teachers hopefully tolerant of what was surely just an act of over-exuberance, to coin a phrase.

Hibs have always enjoyed a close bond with the local community but they hope that by building on their success, rather than just sitting back and admiring what they have done, they can take that engagement to the next level.

“For us, it’s about a celebration of winning the Scottish Cup last year and taking it on the road to try and build a pathway for new Hibernian supporters,” said Dempster. “We want to get children interested in football in general. We are aware that not everybody is a football supporter, but we would like them to be. We’d like them to be Hibernian fans as well.

“We’re going to primary schools, we’re going to be visiting businesses, we’re doing Freshers Week [at universities] and we’re going to go to as many boys clubs as we can to take the celebration of winning the Scottish Cup and to try to recruit some new Hibernian supporters for the future.

"The message to the kids is about perseverance. It’s a really nice hook for them and it’s a really nice hook for us. It works well. You saw the first event today. We plan to do three or four of these a day and just work the trophy as hard as we can while it’s in our possession.”

Winning the cup created a buzz of contentment around the club that has stretched into the new season. A new manager in Neil Lennon and team with a 100% league record has further expanded the feelgood factor.

“Since the first home league game against Dunfermline the two crowds have been really strong,” added Dempster. “There is an energy and a happiness around the place that we have not felt for a long time. That’s mainly due to the fact that it takes people a wee bit of time to buy into your plans.

“It’s about coming to a football match and just enjoying your day. I said to the board last week that I genuinely feel as if, for the first time since I arrived, that we had delivered. I’m not talking about results on the pitch. I’m talking about the matchday experience. It felt like we delivered a really superb, enjoyable day for people. We’re slowly but surely getting there.

“The Scottish Cup has tremendously helped us. For those who are Hibernian-minded in the Lothians and beyond, the feeling around that cup win was euphoric and it hasn’t disappeared. Season tickets are not quite at 11,000, but we’re not far away. That has allowed us to put some of the events of the past behind us and look properly to the future.”