BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
JACKIE McNamara senior insists the shameful post-match scenes at Hampden should not deny the Hibernian players the glory of going down in Scottish Cup history.
McNamara, who played well over 200 games for Hibs in the 1970s and ’80s, has confessed the trouble that flared after the full-time whistle was ‘regrettable’ and branded any attacks on Rangers players as ‘disgraceful’.
However, the 63-year-old, who also had a spell as assistant-manager to Jim Duffy at Easter Road in the 1990s, is adamant the players who brought home the trophy for the first time in 114 years should be treated like heroes for their stirring 3-2 triumph.
McNamara, who played in Hibs’ cup marathon Scottish Cup final defeat to Rangers in 1979, said: “I’m delighted for the players, every one of them. They’ve succeeded where some legends of the club have failed in the past and they should be proud of their achievement.
“It’s been great watching some of the football they’ve played this season but, I must admit, when Rangers got that second goal, I thought ‘here we go again’.
“But, to their credit, they responded brilliantly and I thought Hibs were the better team. It was a very enjoyable match, Hibs were right up for it and I’m delighted for everybody connected with the club, it was a marvellous result.”
With a police investigation already under way into the on-field violence involving both sets of supporters that marred the post-match celebrations, McNamara has admitted he is troubled by the allegations of attacks on Rangers players – but also by other events at the national stadium.
He added: “What happened after the full-time whistle was regrettable. There’s no way any footballer should be attacked on a football pitch. I’m not happy with that at all.
“Certainly no footballer deserves to be treated like that. Somebody tells me Lee Wallace was hit, which is totally disgraceful.
“That shouldn’t deflect from the flares and the criminal offence of sectarian singing.
“But it’s not going to take the polish off it, big Stubbsy was right. It was unfortunate and disappointing, especially if players got injured.
“But it won’t take the glory away from these boys. They were brilliant.”
Meanwhile, McNamara has rubbished suggestions from former Rangers and Hearts rival Alex MacDonald that Hibs should be booted out of European football next season because of the pitch invasion.
The Ibrox legend has called on the SFA to ban the Easter Road outfit from taking their place in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.
McNamara commented: “Wee Doddie wants us kicked out? He would know about kicking people! Give me peace.”