Craig Sibbald will be roared on by 13 members of his family on Saturday – but not by his older brother.
After watching his younger sibling progress from kickabouts in the garden to scoring goals at Hampden, Gary Sibbald can’t face it again.
I saw Craig running in and thought he’s going to score. Instinct as a fan urges you to want him stopped. Instincts as a brother means you want him to scoreGary Sibbald
He watched with pride as Sibbald Jnr swept in the opening goal on the Bairns’ last visit to the National Stadium, yet he stood motionless. Mum Patricia and dad Alex were bounding around the South Stand after seven minutes of the 2013 semi-final, but Gary “didn’t know what to do with myself.”
As a Hibs fan, he was in another part of the ground.
“It was the strangest feeling,” he told The Falkirk Herald. “I was sitting in the Hibs end and directly behind the first goal.
“I saw Craig running in and thought he’s going to score. Instinct as a fan urges you to want him stopped. Instincts as a brother means you want him to score.
“There were Hibs fans all around me going nuts yet I was kind of motionless. On one hand my team had just lost a goal but on the other my wee brother had scored six minutes into the Scottish Cup semi-final. I didn’t know what to do.”
His friends did - and that’s when the messages and the phonecalls from the opposite corner of the ground began.
“A lot of my mates are Falkirk fans. I was dreading seeing them to be honest. When the second and third goals went in I could see the Falkirk fans going absolutely crazy - I had plenty of friends in there. Then my phone started going. And the messages started being sent.
“When Hibs missed the penalty that was it for me, but then it all came back for Hibs and Falkirk tired.”
Being stuck in that unusual position of being happy and sad at the same time, has forced Gary’s hand. He’ll watch the game at home.
“It’s too much hassle, it’s too weird,” he added. “When I go and watch Craig I sit on my own anyway. My parents are big Falkirk fans too but I prefer to watch the game on my own and concentrate on it.”
“This time I’m watching it on TV - I’m too torn!
“I’ll sit in the house and I’ll see them all when they come back – no matter the score.”
From that high-low in the first half, Gary found himself in a low-high as he commiserated after the game with his family.
“I couldn’t really rub it in after the game, I just said unlucky to Craig. We didn’t really discuss the goal either because I knew it was a sore day for Falkirk. I could have got ripped in about him like a big brother could... but I didn’t.”
Though Craig added: “Gary does remind me about it now and then, but although he’s not going, about 13 of my family are and hopefully we repay them for last time.
“I like that goal in particular because it’s my first one at Hampden.
“Hopefully, we can continue our good record over Hibs this season and we are all looking forward to the day.”
It’s his third trip to the National Stadium and he’s looking for the bragging rights at the dinner table. “Everything about a trip to Hampden is brilliant. The overnight stay in the hotel to get prepared, the trip itself for the game - its a great day out for the fans and their families, its a big occasion.”
But not the entire Sibbald family. And while Gary isn’t just conflicted with Hibs and Falkirk allegiances, he’s also a football development manager with East Stirlingshire and the set-up at Shire Galaxy in Grangemouth.
Gary added: “I’ve got lots of football ties! Three directly.
“I used to go to Brockville with my family although Hibs were always my team because my uncle Eric supported them. You can imagine how pleased I was the day Collin Samuel hit the hat-trick against Hearts – I was there.
“I want Craig to do well, and for my mates and where I’m from I want Falkirk to do well too. But when it comes to Hibs it’s different.
“If it was the league cup or in the league I’d be quite happy either way but with Hearts winning the league, to end the Scottish Cup story would be brilliant, but that comes at a price of Craig not getting to the final and my mum and dad who have a season ticket seeing their team lose.
“We’ve had a laugh in the house about it. I support Falkirk 99 times out of 100 but it’s Hibs and it’s the Scottish Cup... it’s different.”