Jock Stein masterminds a famous win over Real Madrid in a challenge match at Easter Road. The team takes confidence from the victory and start to dominate fixtures in the League.
After defeat to Kilmarnock in the League, the following midweek was one which went down in the annals of Hibernian history as Jock Stein had persuaded Chairman Willie Harrower that the Club could benefit both on and off the park by inviting the mighty Real Madrid to play a friendly at Easter Road.
Jock Stein chats with Club Chairman Willie Harrower after a Board meeting in March 1964 (pic: TSPL)
The players would surely gain from facing such star studded opposition whilst a guaranteed huge attendance would handsomely cover the Spanish side's appearance fee whilst adding ever needed cash to the coffers of Hibernian FC.
A double page spread from the matchday programme showcasing the calibre of player within the Real Madrid squad
Madrid had won the European Cup five times in succession and were giants in the Spanish League with players such as Ferenc Puskas, Francisco Gento and Jose Santamaria in their ranks. At home in the Bernebau, over the period from 1956/57 to 1963/64 they had played 109 matches, scoring 366 goals and losing just 66 but most astonishing of all is that they did not lose a single one of those games!
Confidence from the challenge match
Thirty thousand fans flocked to Easter Road and on the night Hibs played brilliantly in beating the Spanish giants 2-0 with goals from Peter Cormack and an own goal via Spanish defender Zoco. That own goal was Hibs' 200th against foreign opposition and well deserved on a night when Jock Stein out-thought his Spanish counterpart and Pat Quinn, Pat Stanton and Willie Hamilton excelled in a team with no failures in its ranks.
Hibernian versus Real Madrid, Challenge Match, 1964
The tails were up now amongst the green shirted Hibernian players and the following Saturday they went to Ibrox and thumped reigning Champions Rangers 4-2 with a double from 17 year old Peter Cormack and thrilling strikes from Pat Quinn and Willie Hamilton. Playing a 4-2-4 formation had Rangers guessing and although they twice took the lead the better team won on the day.
Stein had his team flying now and a visit to Muirton Park to face St. Johnstone saw no drop in the style of play with Hibs playing some fine football in winning 3-1; Cormack, Quinn and Martin securing the points. Morton were next to face the rampant Hibs and left with nothing as Peter Cormack and a Jim Scott penalty snuffed out a stuffy visiting defence in a 2-1 win. In between those two games a fine servant of the Club, centre half Jim Easton, was transferred to Dundee, leaving behind his replacement and good friend John McNamee.
The three game unbeaten League run was extended to four when Hibs travelled to Motherwell and won 2-0 thanks to Pat Quinn and a Jim Scott penalty. Neil Martin had missed out that day due to injury whilst Irish Internationalist John Parke captained the Club from his customary left back slot. After ten games Hibs were sitting third behind leaders Killie and second placed Hearts, the only two Clubs to have beaten them so far, with Celtic only fifth and Rangers even lower!
The winning streak ends
Manager Jackie Cox brought his talented St. Mirren team to Easter Road knowing that the Hibees were in great form and looking for a fifth win on the trot. In the Buddies line up that day was Archie Gemmell who later played in Brian Clough's European Cup winning side at Nottingham Forest and made many appearances in a Scotland jersey. A goal from midfielder Bobby Ross earned the visitors a point as despite much huffing and puffing the home team could manage only one goal through Jim Scott.
During the following week, John Parke was transferred to Sunderland and one wonders whether Stein giving him the captaincy two weeks earlier against Motherwell had been a way of recognising the superb service the player had given to Hibernian. His replacement was none other than Joe Davis, signed from Third Lanark who would be Hibs' next opposition at Easter Road. It's not clear who replaced Joe in the Thirds defence but he must have had a torrid time as the Hibees hammered five goals without reply. A Willie Hamilton double was only bettered by Neil Martin's hat trick, the big striker clearly in the mood having scored two for Scotland the previous midweek against Spurs in the John White Testimonial match at White Hart Lane.
Feeling good after a nap hand against luckless Thirds, Hibs popped over the recently opened Forth Road Bridge hoping to avenge their League Cup exit at the hands of Dunfermline but in a hard fought game the strikers left their shooting boots at home whilst leaving the points in Fife following a 1-0 defeat.
Dundee were sitting mid table when they arrived at Easter Road but were no soft touch as their form the previous season had won them a place in Europe in the shape of the Inter Cities Fairs Cup. Manager Bob Shankly had a fine squad of players at his disposal, including former Hibee Jim Easton, goalkeeper Ally Donaldson, midfield maestro Andy Penman and lethal striker Alan Gilzean. In a pulsating end to end encounter the teams finished level at 2-2 with Stevie Murray and Penman scoring for the Dark Blues whilst Willie Hamilton and Pat Quinn found the net for Hibs.
Jock Stein was philosophical about it all in the week leading up to the Airdrie game at Broomfield and felt that Hibs should have had more from the games against Dunfermline and Dundee because, he felt, they had certainly played well enough. Ironically, the side spluttered through the Airdrie game but won both points thanks to a single goal from Peter Cormack. The League was fast approaching the half way stage and Hibs were still sitting in third place with Hearts and Killie above them as the tough winter weather began to affect fixtures, leaving the table showing teams having played an uneven number of matches.
Partick Thistle were languishing near the foot of the table when they came to Easter Road the week before Christmas 1964 and Hibs were in no mood to hand out early presents as they triumphed 2-1 with a penalty from Jim Scott and a goal from Pat Quinn. Boxing Day brought Clyde to Easter Road and on a boggy pitch the players from both sides served up a seven goal thriller with the Hibees coming out on top 4-3 thanks to a double from Neil Martin and goals from Willie Hamilton and Stan Vincent, the last named replacing an injured Jim Scott in the starting line up.
Jock Stein masterminds victory over Spanish giants Real Madrid in a challenge match at Easter Road.
In early October, Hibernian beat reigning Scottish Division One champions Rangers in a league match at Ibrox.
Between the fixture against Rangers and Boxing Day 1964, Hibernian lose just one league match in eleven outings.
The Hibernian team enter the start of 1965 sitting third in the League table.
Written by John Campbell as part of the 'Another Generation' series