after the cup final

“The time is seven-thirty,” grizzles the radio, “here is a news update.”

The fridge whines, pipes gurgle and burp. A pot of basil wilts on the window sill. I pull up the blind to let sunlight in. A tap drips.

The radio rambles on. Background tunes, jokes and chatter. I have to turn it off. I need silence to give me something to listen to.

In my head I’m singing the song of shared, inexplicable joy – the song to hug to and forget to. It’s a forgiving, persevering song. It lets the sun shine.

Here today is ordinary. There are gangs of clouds in the sky but enough of a breeze to move them along without trouble. Sparrows cheep together in the tree by my bus stop. People stand around not saying much, but not because anything’s wrong. They just can’t think of anything much to say.

I’m on the bus – upstairs at the front. I’m nine years old and driving with my hands on the safety bar like a motorbike rider.

I’m trampolining. I’m getting to stay up late for Hogmanay.

I’m playing football in Grandma’s back garden, and on the Links with Brian and Ronald. And their dog. I can’t remember the dog’s name but he’s controlling the game like a Brazilian – Socrates, Zico or Pele – none of us can get the ball back off him.

I’m playing with Dad, practising left-foot shots and quick one-twos.

I hate headers though. Always shutting my eyes and missing the ball, or getting it full in the face. That hurts.

Now it’s injury-time with extra-time surely on its way. We’ve got a corner. We’ve won the header. It’s in! Our captain with the best header ever.

YES. YES. YES. We done it. We done it. Fucking hell man we’ve done it!

I’m calling people but I can’t hear my own thoughts let alone anyone’s voice over the phone. “Is this really happening?” I text my sister. “Unbelievable!” she replies, I can hear her voice in my head, “What a performance!”

And the song starts. The sun shines. We are singing with broken voices full of joy – joy of generations past and present.

Now I think whenever I hear silence, I should sing and not stop.


On Saturday 21st May 2016, Hibs won the Scottish Cup for the first time in 114 years in dramatic fashion. What followed I can only describe as mass joyful insanity. Once we’d all calmed down a wee bit, the players finally got to lift the cup and we all sang Sunshine on Leith


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