Hibernian playmaker Andrew Shinnie insists the Edinburgh derby atmosphere is an experience that money cannot buy after being blown away by the Easter Road celebrations.
The on loan Birmingham City midfielder admitted he had been desperate to hear the fans blare out a spine-tingling rendition of Sunshine of Leith after watching YouTube footage of the scenes following last year’s cup win over Hearts.
The Scotland cap made his mark for the Championship leaders in Wednesday’s emphatic 3-1 Scottish Cup replay victory over their city rivals after replacing the injured Chris Humphrey just five minutes into the fifth round tie.
Shinnie made a lucrative move to St Andrew’s in summer 2013 but insists the English Championship does not come close to matching the adrenalin-inducing noise that was generated at Easter Road.
“I loved it,” remarked Shinnie. “It was everything I thought it would be and I was buzzing after the game because I had watched YouTube videos of last year when they sung Sunshine on Leith after the Hearts game and thought it was unbelievable.
“I was jealous of it and I’m now so glad that I have sampled that and been a part of it.
“Near the end I was thinking it might happen again. I was glad I had scored and then to win and walk around the ground as they were singing after the game was unbelievable. I was just glad I got that chance.
“You saw it on Wednesday, that was unbelievable the atmosphere out there.
“Down south gets built up quite a lot, obviously people go down there and financially it is big difference but I’ve been at a lot of English Championship matches, they’re decent games but nothing like that atmosphere – that was unbelievable.
“A lot of reasons are financially that players go down but not a lot of teams can offer you that atmsosphere I don’t think.
“That should be in the top league of Scottish football every season.
“I didn’t sample the Aston Villa Villa derby, which would have been good. The games were good and the atmospheres were okay in most of the games, but nothing compared to that.
“Easter Road is a great stadium and when the fans are like that, it’s a tough place for teams to come.”
Shinnie is contracted to the Blues until next summer but if he is not wanted by Gianfranco Zola at St Andrew’s, the former Inverness player would be willing to commit his future to the Scottish Cup holders.
He added: “It’s a brilliant club and I love it here.
“It should be in the top league and I love it, I wouldn’t not extend my stay here, I would like to stay here but I’m not going to think about that until he summer.
“I’m just working hard on my football and that will take care of itself.”
Hibs head coach Neil Lennon confessed in midweek that he had been lying when he said that the cup was not the priority for the promotion-chasing club.
And Shinnie admits he wold love to play his part in delivering the double.
He added: “I want to have a really successful season, I want us to win the league, I want us to go for the cup – that would be a very successful season.
“They are both priorities and why not do both? But Ayr United in the quarter-finals will be a very tough game.”