Falkirk forward Myles Hippolyte has recalled how the family of Hibernian hero Peter Marinello helped him make the transition into Scottish football.
Should Falkirk emerge victorious in tonight’s play-off semi-final second leg against the Leith side, Peter’s relative Tony Marinello, his partner Sharon and son Steven might regret providing such a hospitable environment off the pitch for the player.
After making the switch from English non-league side Burnham to Livingston in summer 2014 at the age of 19, Hippolyte took up residence with the Marinellos at their home in West Lothian.
Hippolyte never met Peter, the former Hibs forward who was dubbed the ‘next George Best’ before Arsenal shelled out a club record £100,000 to secure his services in 1970.
But stability off the field allowed the attacking midfielder to find his feet on it, the former Brentford trainee making 64 appearances for the Lions before making the switch to Falkirk in January.
With the tie evenly poised at 2-2 from Tuesday’s first leg, Hippolyte would have no qualms in upsetting the Marinello family this evening.
“I was living with a Hibs-daft family, the Marinellos,” explained Hippolyte.
“They are fantastic people and I still go to their house now and then.
“I never met Peter Marinello, the former Hibs player.
“I was staying with his relatives Tony, his son Steven and Tony’s partner Sharon.
“It was nice because I was away from home and not near my own family so it was great to stay with a family.
“They looked after me well and I still go round for meals with them on a Friday sometimes.
“Maybe if I score the winner they won’t invite me back for dinner. But they wanted me to do well. There’s a little bit of competition there, but it’s good.”
Hippolyte is hoping to celebrate helping Falkirk set up a play-off final against Kilmarnock just days after feeling the pain of Livingston’s failure to preserve their Championship status following a play-off defeat to Stranraer.
He added: “It’s upsetting, I went there to watch them because I still have good mates there.
“My heart goes out to the club, they gave me a good chance to set a platform for myself.
“That’s just the way football works.
“But on the other side of it I could be playing in the Premiership so this has been a great move for me and it’s something I am very happy about.
“I can only walk around with a smile on my face every day.
“It could be the opposite, I could be annoyed or upset about being relegated.
“So I am quite happy to be fighting for a place in the Premiership.
“It was the dream to reach the Premiership when I first arrived in Scotland. I got an opportunity at Livingston and I’ve taken it. Now I have to push on with Falkirk. Hopefully the team can get into the Premiership and I can be a part of it.”
Having emerged unscathed after coming under heavy attack at Easter Road, Hippolyte is confident Peter Houston’s side can finish the job tonight.
He added: “We don’t want to be falling behind or leaving it until the last minute to get the goal, we want to see it out early.
“But it will definitely be a tough game. They’re going to come out all guns blazing, without a doubt.
“I think we can do it, we have shown that on many occasions.”