These are the memories of the Hibee Memory Man and memory only. No Googling, cards up sleeves, hypnosis nor mirrors used! His opinions are his own take on things of course.
Again, 9 October has not featured many Hibs matches in recent times. This is due to the comparatively recent trend for International fixtures being scheduled for weekends around about the second weekend of October. Talking of International fixtures, that wee torn-face ginger Gordon Strachan can get tae . If he’d played John McGinn instead of persisting with possibly the least talented individual ever to accrue eighty caps for his country, i.e. Darren Fletcher, we might have a World Cup qualifier to look forward to. If he’d started with Leigh Griffiths in the earlier matches, it might have made a difference, too.
Anyway, honorable mention to the late John Winston Lennon who would’ve been 77 today, had he not bumped into a Catcher In the Rye-wielding nobody-who-became-a-somebody by murdering him on Monday, 8 December 1980.
– Saturday, 9 October 1971: top tier: Hibs 0-1 Tims. Clearly, I wasn’t at this game (I was exactly nine days old and, given that my Dad had sent my Mum back to Scotland to have me (they lived in Cheadle Hulme at the time), I would probably have been sleeping at either my Edinburgh Granny and Grandad’s at 1 Niddrie Marischal Gardens, Craigmillar or at my Leith Granny and Grandads at 16 Prince Regent Street, Leith. A crowd of 39,000 (including, presumably, at least 20,000 tims) saw a goal by Lou Macari with less than 20 minutes left take the two points. This was, of course, a great Celtic team. They had reached the European Cup final against Feyenoord only 17 months earlier. They had also lost a Scottish Cup Final to Eddie Turnbull’s SSBs only 18 months earlier. ET was, of course, now in charge of Hibs. But he was in the early stages of the revolution which would lead to the evolution of the legendary Turnbull’s Tornadoes. I’m too young to have seen them live, of course. But, having watched the old footage on video and DVD, there’s no doubt in my opinion: that was the last great team for a protracted period. Between 1971 and 1975, Hibs were not just a great Scottish team, they were a great British, great European team. Sad to relate, that we’ve failed to emulate that in the last 42 years.
One post-script is that just two weeks later (on Saturday, 23 October 1971) that Celtic team would face a highly unfancied Partick Thistle team at Hampden in the League Cup. One of the greatest ever shocks in Scottish League Cup history transpired, with the Harry Wraggs scoring four in a seismic first half. Celtic pulled one back in the second half, but the Jags held on for an historic 4-1 victory. 46 years later, almost to the day, we will face Celtic at Hampden in the League Cup.
– Wednesday, 9 October 1985: Skol Cup semi-final, 2nd leg: deid hunz 1-0 Hibs (Hibs win 2-1 on aggregate). I listened to this on the radio: Radio Clyde. Dad would not take Grant and I to this game. Indeed the only times I’ve watched Hibs at Ibrox with my old man were the two Scottish Cup semis there against Celtic in April 1985. Faither hates the hunz (both the deid club and the tribute act). This is because he and my Uncle Denis were chased through the Weej by bigoted, grown men after Hibs had knocked them out of the Scottish Cup semi final replay in 1958. It’s the only game, the only ground I’ve ever had bother at myself. And, from conversations with other Hibbies and comments read on the various fans forums, violence is always in the air when you wear green and you’re players .them . Despite the off-field concerns, Hibs, having won the first leg more comfortably than the 2-0 scoreline suggested, took a huge support there. all 8,000 tickets in the Broomloan Stand were filled by enthusiastic, loud Hibbies. However, there had been a major accident on the M8, so the majority of the Hibs fans did not arrive until late in the first half; by which time we were a goal down on the night. The goal – a direct free-kick – by the late Davie Cooper was, is the finest goal I have ever seen Hibs concede. I remember the commentary team on the radio describing it as having gone in the ‘postage stamp’ top corner. On the radio, all you could hear was the loud, raucous Hibs support. Gordon Rae had been booked for the foul which resulted in the free-kick from which Cooper scored; which had the unfortunate consequence of ruling him out of the final. Which was a shame because Rae was a fine servant to the Hibs for many a year. A real stalwart who had scored some crucial goals in his time at Easter Road; not least a Scottish Cup quarter final winner against hertz on Saturday, 10 March 1979.
Back to the game at Ibrox, the home side had a lot of pressure, without creating much in the way of chances. And Roughie did not have too much to do. I have to say that, much as at the time the second half seemed to go on for hours, this was the most I ever enjoyed listening to a Hibs game on the radio until Wednesday, 22 February 2017. When, of course, we beat hertz 3-1 at Easter Road in the Scottish Cup. And I listened to it while doing weights in my bedroom. Nearly decapitated masel while bench-pressing when the first goal went in!
Another memory is that Rangers ended the match with Derek Johnstone up front. One of the commentators opined that it was ironic that, after all these years, a Jock Wallace-managed Rangers team still had DJ up front. Serves them right.
But the final whistle finally sounded and the 8,000 (out of 39,282) were jubilant! I could go to school (Strathaven Academy) with my head held high and, for the first time, since 1979, we had a cup final to look forward to! The result and this development even featured in that Saturday’s lunch-time football staple – Saint and Greavesie! St John narrated the news in the opening sequence to the week’s event with the surprised tone-enunciating news that ‘it’s Hibs, and not Rangers, who will face Aberdeen in the Skol Cup final’ accompanying images of jubilant Hibbies in the Broomloan Stand!
We had a good record against the deid hunz in League Cup semis; beating them four times in a row: 1972, 1985, 1991, 2004. I was at the last two. Two probably of my top 5 Hibs matches attended.
– Saturday, 9 October 1993: SPL: Motherwell 0-2 Hibs. Hibs stayed top of the table with goals by Jackson in the first half and Keith Wright in the second beating a fine Motherwell team who had won at Ibrox midweek. Top of the League and in the League Cup final; it was a good time to be a Hibby! It even featured on Blue Peter; with John Leslie interviewing fans queuing for Cup Final tickets on Easter Road!