JASON CUMMINGS has revealed how a night of drunken karaoke with Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand convinced him to sign a new contract with Hibs.
The former Easter Road favourite was weighing up his future in the summer of 2016 following a prolific campaign.
The irrepressible front-man had notched 25 goals and helped the Hibees end their 114-year wait to lift the Scottish Cup in the previous season and suitors from down south were circling.
However, Cummings was persuaded to pen a new four-year deal after Neil Lennon replaced Alan Stubbs at the helm – and proceeded to give him a night of VIP treatment at the European Championships in France.
In an in-depth interview with former Hibs teammate Marvin Bartley streamed on Instagram, Cummings even recalled how he got Manchester United legend Ferdinand to sing ‘Sunshine on Leith’.
He said: “I had a bit of interest that summer and didn’t really know what to do.
“Lenny was doing punditry for the Euros in France and ended up calling to say ‘fly out Cummings, I need him to be here’. There was a lot of speculation at the time.
“So he ends up getting me tickets for a Portugal game and then phones to say ‘come at meet me at this bar after the game’. I rock up to the bar and he’s sitting there with Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand, John Hartson, Jermaine Jenas.
“He shouts over ‘there’s Cumdog, get in here!’ He starts telling them all that I’m his main striker.
“He asked what I wanted to drink and I said a water because the season was coming up soon. He’s going ‘get a pint!’ I’m like ‘this guy is a legend’.
“I ended up hammered and we all finish up doing karaoke – up singing ‘The Gambler’ by Kenny Rogers with Alan Shearer. I was singing Sunshine on Leith with Ferdinand.
“I woke up the next day and said ‘I’m signing this contract’. He sold me the dream.”
Cummings did ultimately leave Hibs the following summer, joining Nottingham Forest for a fee in the region of £1 million and linking up with ex-Rangers boss Mark Warburton.
However, his dream move to one of England’s sleeping giants turned into a nightmare when Warburton was replaced by former Real Madrid defender Aitor Karanka after just six months.
And Cummings knew the writing was on the wall when the Spaniard FORGOT about him during a training drill.
He continued: “The thing that killed me was Warbs getting sacked after a few months. He was the man who signed me and I could see myself progressing under him and [assistant] Davie Weir. They were class. Then the new manager, Karanka, comes in.
“He came in and he was putting all the boys into a shape for training, calls everyone’s name out and then says ‘right, let’s go’. But he’s forgotten about me!
“I was standing in the sidelines like ‘am I playing here or what?’
“The next day he phoned my agent and said I wasn’t his type of player and he wanted a bigger striker. I still haven’t spoken to him since.”
Forced to find a new club, Cummings admits he ‘would have walked to Glasgow’ to sign for Rangers after he heard of interim gaffer Graeme Murty’s interest in him in January of 2018.
He penned a loan deal until the end of that campaign with an option to buy.
However, it proved to be another frustrating spell for the Scotland international as he started just nine games, albeit scoring six times in the process.
And he says incoming Gers boss Steven Gerrard was honest with him when it came down to deciding whether to make the deal permanent.
Cummings continued: “I started to see the other side of football. It was easy playing every week at Hibs, scoring goals. Then, all of a sudden I was on the bench or not in squads. There was part of me thinking ‘is this what it’s all about?’
“I do wish I had more of a chance at Rangers.
“It was up to Gerrard in the end and I went out to Dubai to speak to him. He was brand new and told me he was going to bring in his own players.
“He ended up signing some geezer called Jermain Defoe so that was fair enough!”