Toby Sibbick lifts lid on Hearts Hampden celebrations as he admits it went ‘crazy’ after Hibs win

Toby Sibbick took it easy on the Edinburgh derby celebrations by ordering in a takeaway.

But the defender knows he’s going to have to go flat out to ensure it’s not his top-team place that gets taken away as Hearts stars fight for their Hampden places.

Sibbick’s third straight start for Robbie Neilson seven days ago in the Scottish Cup semi-final brought a second successive win over Hibs.

The boss gave the players a couple of days off to enjoy their successes and the 22-year-old kept it low key with his family.

However, with five games to go before the national stadium return to face Rangers, Sibbick knows he can’t put his feet up on the park.

With John Souttar returning to training next week, the competition for places in the backline is curry hot.

Neilson’s demands that Hearts stay at full pelt through the remainder of the Premiership campaign prior to the showpiece – despite having a third place wrapped up – is another reason to keep the foot on the pedal.

Sibbick enjoyed the semi success and said: “The celebrations were crazy in the dressing room, and even when we walked around clapping the fans. The noise they were giving us and the support was immense throughout the all game and afterwards as well.

“I had my family, so it was just a chilled one afterwards. I had a nice little takeaway and just chilled, really.

“We had a meeting on Thursday. We set targets out at the start of the season and while I wasn’t here at the time, the targets remain the same.

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“We’ve got five games left and want to win all five to put us in the best possible way going into the final.

“You’ve got to stay on it. You see it anywhere in football. If you slip up then there’s another team ready to pounce.

“We know what we need to do and what we need to achieve, so we need to stay mentally prepared. Everyone wants to be in that starting team between now and the end of the season.

“We’ve got a good squad, a really competitive squad. Everyone is fighting for their place. All the players here are united. There are no specific friendship groups, everyone talks and keeps together.

“When you play on the pitch, you know someone else wants your spot, so you have to cherish that opportunity.

“It’s tough when you are in and out of the team. Every player wants that consistent run, I know I made a mistake for their goal in the semi-final. Next time I will just smash it away. You just have to stay mentally focused and if you keep yourself fit and ready and sharp then nothing will surprise you.”

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Success with Hearts this season has come as no surprise to Sibbick, who is relishing his second spell at Tynecastle after returning in January.

Despite relegation last time out, I have sensed the size of the club. Now back from Barnsley, there’s a Scottish Cup medal within his grasp of him and European football to come next term.

Sibbick said: “Even last time we managed to get to the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup and then Covid-19 hit and stopped everything.

“But, as I was looking in before coming here, I knew the vision of the club and what they wanted to achieve.

“Already in a short space of time they’ve achieved that.

“We want to keep heading in that direction and it’s great to be a part of that campaign. As a player, you want to be playing in European competitions, and to play against some massive teams and test yourself.

“But, at the moment, our focus is on the next six games.

“Last season, I played in the semi-finals of the play-offs against Swansea City. It was just when fans were allowed back into grounds again, so there was only a capacity of about 4,000.

“But it was the same thing in the sense that I knew, back then, what was at stake. It was promoted to the English Premier League.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t do it, sometimes that’s just football. But now I’ve got a real chance of winning some silverware.”

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Although the focus is on now, Sibbick is excited about what lies in store.

He added: “I think even looking in, the players who are on loan realize we will be in Europe next season and if we keep the same squad we can achieve more.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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