Jock Stein announces he is leaving to join Celtic after Hibernian's chances of winning the League were extinguished. Bob Shankly is quickly appointed the new manager.
The New Year of 1965 started with the short journey to Tynecastle with high hopes that Hibs could both avenge that earlier 5-3 defeat and put a dent in the Gorgie sides title hopes. Both were achieved and in some style, if not in the narrow 1-0 victory then in the astonishing winning goal struck by Willie Hamilton from what looked like an impossible angle.
As New Year's Day had fallen on a Friday, there was another game set to be played the following day with Falkirk the visitors. Clearly buoyed by their win across the City, Hibs set about destroying a Falkirk side which boasted one John Lambie amongst its number. It was a day for the strikers as Neil Martin scored an astonishing four goals whilst Stan Vincent chipped in with a couple to secure the points in a thrilling 6-0 victory.
The January weather in Aberdeen was kind enough that the game the following Saturday survived and Hibs came back from their furthest away game with a point in the bag thanks to a Willie Hamilton strike in a 1-1 draw. It was the start of a very testing remainder of the month but the 5 points out of 6 possible was a good platform as Dundee United arrived at Easter Road. In his programme notes for that game, Jock Stein warned that United would offer stiff opposition and his words rang true as the Arabs departed with both points in a 4-3 win. In a quite amazing game United raced into a 4-0 half time lead with Finn Dossing (3) and Orjan Persson, the Scandinavian contingent at Tannadice, getting the goals. A spirited second half fightback by Hibs saw Peter Cormack (2) and Pat Quinn (pen) almost rescue a point but it was not to be.
Peter Cormack was in great form for Hibernian during season 1964/65
The next two games would measure the Championship aspirations of Stein's side as they were against League leaders Kilmarnock and reigning Champions Rangers. Encouragingly at that time the reserve side had been going well in its own League with a certain Jimmy O'Rourke scoring for fun!
A double over Rangers
The Killie game had fallen victim to the weather and so Hibs' next outing was against Rangers at Easter Road. The Ibrox outfit was smarting over the 4-2 win by Hibs earlier in the season and arrived looking for revenge but for the first time for 62 years Hibs did the double thanks to Neil Martin and a 1-0 win. Hibs played Rangers off the park that day and were most unfortunate to score only once. The two points kept Hibs in touch with Killie and Hearts at the top of the League but the following Saturday saw Stein's men facing up to ES Clydebank at home in the Scottish Cup. This was the visitors' first ever Scottish Cup tie as they had previously been East Stirlingshire until the Steedman brothers bought them over and moved them lock stock and barrel to Kilbowie Park in Clydebank.
In the ES Clydebank line up for that Cup Tie were goalkeeper Johnny Arrol who later gave sterling service to Dundee and a speedy number ten by the name of Andy Roxburgh! No doubt both players contributed well to the minnows holding Hibs to a 1-1 draw but they'd had their chance of causing a Cup upset and the replay, four days later, saw Hibs comfortably through 2-0 with goals from Hamilton and Cormack.
Back to League action and a visit from St. Johnstone to Easter Road. Stein was anxious to secure the points as the postponed away tie to Killie had been arranged for the following Tuesday. His players didn't let him down with the victory somewhat easier than the 2-0 scoreline suggests. Martin (pen) and Eric Stevenson were the marksmen.
A classic against the League leaders
Killie were leading the Championship race when Hibs came a calling and the game was an absolute classic with two skilful attacking sides going at each other from the off and the general consensus of the press corps was that the visitors were extremely unlucky in going down by four goals to three. Lady luck deserted Hamilton, Stevenson and Davis who all hit the woodwork so the goals from Neil Martin (2) and Pat Quinn were not enough on the day.
Another home tie in the Scottish Cup paired Hibs up with fellow First Division outfit Partick Thistle and the Jags suffered badly at the hands of a thrilling Hibs performance going down 5-1 thanks to a double from the fit again Jim Scott and single strikes from Quinn, Martin and Cormack. Hibs were in the Quarter Finals and the draw paired them with Rangers at Easter Road but before then they had to travel to Cappielow on a freezing cold Saturday late in February.
Going into this game there was still a glimmer of hope that Hibs could sustain a Championship challenge but by 4.40pm that day all such hopes were extinguished. Goals from Scott and Quinn weren't enough and the challenge had begun to slip, even though Hibs were still third behind Killie and Hearts.
Having beaten Rangers home and away in the League there was an optimistic feeling amongst the support and players that maybe they could make it a hat trick and that optimism was well founded as the greens ended the Ibrox outfit's Cup dreams with a brilliant 2-1 victory. John Baxter and Willie Hamilton were credited with the goals but many felt a Joe Davis lob had crossed the line before Rangers keeper Billy Ritchie scooped it out only for Baxter to head home. With just two minutes left and a replay looking likely, John Fraser blasted the ball at goal and Ritchie dived, only for Willie Hamilton to flick out a foot and divert it into the net. Three wins in one season over Rangers - heady days indeed!
Jock Stein leaves Hibernian
Hibs fans were to be rocked that week with the announcement that Manager Jock Stein was leaving to join Celtic. Just when the side was going so well in both League and Cup it transpired that Celtic had made an approach and Stein had told a distraught Chairman Willie Harrower that he wanted to move to the Club where he had once played. An actual date for the move had not yet been decided but Hibs were off their mark in looking for a successor. Early favourites were Eddie Turnbull and John Prentice but Willie Harrower was a very single minded man and he'd set his heart on luring Bob Shankly away from Dundee which he did successfully and the new man arrived with a good recent record having taken Dundee to League winning status in 1962 and then into the semi finals of the European Cup the following season.
Bob Shankly in Dundee City Square after his Dundee side won the 1962 League Division One title
Four days into his new job, Shankly put out his team to face Motherwell at Easter Road and was rewarded with a good 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Martin and Scott. In that same week Willie Hamilton returned to the International scene with a call up to the Scottish League side scheduled to play their English counterparts at Hampden. It was no more than Hamilton deserved given his sparkling form in a green and white jersey.
Hibernian win the 1965 New Year's Derby 1-0.
The Club beat Rangers in both league fixtures for the first time in 62 years, whilst also beating the Glasgow side in a Scottish Cup Quarter Final.
Hibernian perform well in the League and consistently remain third place in the table, closely behind leaders Kilmarnock and Hearts.
Jock Stein announces he is leaving Hibernian to join Celtic.
Bob Shankly is appointed the new manager of Hibernian.
Written by John Campbell as part of the 'Another Generation' series