Former Bolton and Everton defender Alan Stubbs etched his name in Scottish football history by being the manager who guided Hibernian to their first Scottish Cup triumph in 114 years when they beat Rangers 3-2 at Hampden in 2016.
That summer Stubbs subsequently quit on the ultimate football high for an ill-fated five-month spell in charge at Rotherham.
However Stubbs admits his time at Rotherham handed him one of the most surreal moments in his career. Stubbs,speaking with The Daily Record, recalls how a sitdown with Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino quickly turned into a celebration of Hibs’ remarkable cup success all over again.
According to the article Pochettino’s sons ,Sebastiano and Maurizio, each favour a different side of the Edinburgh divide.
Supposedly Sebastiano is a Hibs fan while Maurizio is a big Hearts fan. And Stubbs joked the chance to talk tactics with one of the most respected coaches in the Premier League soon turned into a discussion about his remarkable cup triumph with Hibernian.
Stubbs enthused: “When I was manager of Rotherham we got asked to play a pre-season bounce game (behind closed doors friendly) against Tottenham at their new Enfield training ground.
“I thought it would be good to introduce myself to Pochettino and there might be the possibility of bringing some of their academy players or senior players who were not getting a first-team game to Rotherham on loan.
“It was a behind closed doors match.After the game Pochettino invited me and the staff upstairs. We were all sitting in the players’ eating area when Pochettino came over and thanked me for the game. Then he just started banging on about how fantastic it was for me to have won the Scottish Cup with Hibs in the summer.
“He then proceeded to tell me all his family were crowded round the TV watching the final. It turns out his son Sebastiano is a mad Hibs fan – and I mean a huge Hibs fan. I was totally gobsmacked and I genuinely couldn’t believe it.
“Pochettino has two sons and they had watched an Edinburgh derby once and picked a side. Sebastiano supports Hibs and Maurizio favours Hearts.
“We just got talking about Hibs and winning the Scottish Cup and then Sebastiano came and joined us. We were all just chatting about the final and how it went.
“It was too bizarre for words. I went there as the Rotherham manager with the intention of quizzing Pochettino. I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to expand my knowledge of the game.
“I wanted to know how he’d integrated into the Premier League and how he’d got his style and philosophy across at Southampton and Tottenham.
“All Pochettino and his family wanted to do was talk about Hibs winning the Scottish Cup final.
“I went there to pick a Premier League manager’s brains and to get my picture taken with him. It ended up with them taking selfies with me!
“It was totally amazing.
“Pochettino was a real breath of fresh air and he was a very humble, respectful and charming guy. He could not have been any more welcoming or open-armed with me.
“In fact I’m going back down there in the next couple of weeks to watch Tottenham train just to keep my managerial hand in.
“You always try to keep developing and learning as a manager. It will be beneficial for me, if and when I do get back into the game.
“I might even get the chance to ask Pochettino all the questions I didn’t get to ask him on my first visit!”
An excellent story about our great manager. Quite clearly has huge respect from his peers and it is indeed quite bizzare the connection with scottish football.
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