We continue our series of occasional articles highlighting unique artefacts within the Hibernian Historical Trust archives.
Formed in 2004 to help protect, preserve and promote the proud history of the football club, the Hibernian Historical Trust’s extensive collection of memorabilia contains over 3000 items dating back to the 1870s.
NOVELTY ADVERTISING BOARD SAID TO REPRESENT HIBERNIAN FOOTBALL CLUB IN THE EARLY YEARS OF THE GAME
Despite claiming to be the official suppliers to English and Scottish league clubs no trace can be found of a Sandy’s Sport’s company in this country at that time and it would appear that the board was probably a novelty item from around the 1980s, with similar items claiming to represent most of the top British clubs.
No Hibs player named Sandy Graig has ever represented the full Scotland side, although an Archibald Gray did make one appearance for the country in a 2-0 defeat by Ireland in 1903. The Hibs strip featured also reveals a clue to its authenticity as the pantaloons would only have been worn in the very early days of the century while the Hibs jersey did not feature a white collar until 1933. However, it is an interesting item and we are delighted to have it in our archive.
Original poster advertising Barcelona’s Fairs Cup game against Hibernian at the recently completed Gran Estadio on 27 December 1960, the stadium soon to be renamed the Nou Camp. As well as the very first British team to take part in the inaugural European Cup in 1955, Hibs game against Barcelona was the first time that a Scottish side had entered the Fairs Cup. The poster is signed by the Hibs players Tommy Preston who scored in both legs, John Fraser and Bobby Kinloch. Although Kinloch did not feature in the first game in Spain he is famously remembered for scoring the winning goal from the penalty spot in the return leg at Easter Road.
Hibs had initially been drawn against the Swiss side FC Lausanne in the first round, the first leg to take place in Switzerland, but just as the Easter Road side were preparing for the trip, the news was received that the game had been postponed indefinitely. It would never take place. Although Lausanne would later claim that they had been unable to fulfil the commitment because of international demands on their players, the reality was different. Lausanne had been in turmoil for some time having gone through two managers in the past year. Recently, almost every player had asked for a transfer and in the circumstances, Hibs were awarded a walk-over and the daunting task of facing Barcelona in the next round.
A few weeks earlier Barcelona had ended Real Madrid’s five-year dominance of the European Cup and were then rated one of the top teams in the world, while Hibs at that time were a mid-table side and given no chance of qualifying for the semi-finals. The first leg was to have taken place at Easter Road in mid-December, only for the game to be postponed just a few hours before the kick-off on account of the heavy fog that had lingered over the city all afternoon making visibility for both the players and spectators impossible, and the first game would now take place in Spain.
In front of over 50,000 fans inside the Gran Estadio, Hibs made a nervous start but quickly found the pace of the game, Joe Baker opening the scoring early on after a mistake by goalkeeper Ramallets. After further goals by Tommy Preston, Johnny McLeod and another by Baker, incredibly with only six minutes remaining Hibs were leading 4-2 only for Barcelona to equalise in the remaining minutes to deny the Easter Road side a famous victory.
The big story, however, would be in the return leg in Edinburgh. In the first half Joe Baker had given Hibs the lead only for Barcelona to leave the field at half-time 2-1 ahead and confident of victory. However, with just five minutes of the second half remaining the teams were locked at two goals each after Tommy Preston had levelled the score, when the referee awarded Hibs a penalty, a decision that sparked the start of some of the most disgusting scenes ever seen on a football pitch in this country at that time. For several minutes the Barcelona players refused to continue pushing a jostling the referee in an attempt to make him change his decision. Order was eventually restored, and Bobby Kinloch calmly scored what was to be the winner from the spot. At that, absolute mayhem as the Barcelona players now started kicking and punching the referee and his linesman. Incredibly, the police who came on to rescue the officials were also attacked, the proceedings again held up for several minutes as the fans among the 48,000 crowd on the terracing could only watch in disbelief at what was happening before their very eyes.
Once again the referee eventually managed to restart the game and incredibly none of the Barcelona players had been either been sent-off or arrested. At the final whistle the German referee Herr Malka made for the safety of the dressing room closely followed by several of the Barcelona players, and until the old stand was dismantled several years ago, the imprint of stud’s marks could still clearly be seen on the official’s dressing room door after the furious Barcelona players had attempted to gain access.
In the semi-final, Hibs would play the Italian side Roma, the first game at Easter Road ending 2-2. With the second game in Rome also ending in a 3-3 draw a third game would eventually take place back in Rome. This game, however, would not take place until almost a month after the end of the Scottish season and this no doubt would go some way in explaining the heavy 6-0 defeat.
ORIGINAL POSTER FROM THE FAIRS CUP GAME BETWEEN HIBERNIAN AND VALENCIA IN 1963
After aggregate victories over the composite sides Copenhagen Staevnet and Utrecht, the 16-year-old Jimmy O’Rourke becoming the youngest player at that time to feature in a competitive European competition in Hibs 2-1 victory over the Dutch side at Easter Road, Hibs had now been drawn against the current Fairs Cup holders Valencia who had defeated Barcelona in the previous seasons final.
A Hibs side then lying 17thin an 18 team league that would only escape relegation in the final week of the season, travelled to Spain for the first leg against the Spanish giants probably more in hope than expectation. If that was indeed the case then their hopes would be dashed. Defeated 5-0 at the Mestella Stadium, the score according to one newspaper report later suggested that the ‘scoreline hardly reflected play and that the tally could easily have been ten.’
Hibs made a major reshuffle for the second-leg in Edinburgh including the inclusion of the recent signing Willie Toner from Kilmarnock and surprised their fans by defeating the Spanish giants by the odd goal. 2-1 ahead at the interval after goals from Tommy Preston and Gerry Baker, the visitors had been forced to survive a first-half pounding and were ‘lucky to leave the field at the interval only one goal down.’ In the second half, Valencia started to employ more defensive tactics and that was the end of Hibs hopes of springing a surprise. However, it had given the Hibs fans a brief respite during what would prove to be a disappointing season, the home players leaving the field at the end to cheers instead of the jeers of recent weeks.
Incredibly, Valencia who would go on to retain the trophy at the end of the season by defeating Dynamo Zagreb, had faced Scottish sides in the first three rounds of that year competition, Celtic, Dunfermline and Hibs. Perhaps surprisingly the 6-4 aggregate victory over Celtic had been the Glasgow sides first ever venture into competitive European competition.
JERSEY AND FOOTBALL BOOTS WORN BY LAWRIE REILLY
The jersey probably dates from around the 1957/58 season. Hibs had started wearing the v-necked jersey occasionally from around the mid-1950s although for some time they would still continue to wear the more traditional jersey featuring the old-style shirt collar. The boots, that feature Reilly’s initials and team number on the soles, were won in a newspaper competition around 1957 by the schoolboy John Paul and the Trust are indebted to his family for their acquisition.
Signed by Hibs from the juvenile side Edinburgh Thistle in 1944 along with teammate Archie Buchanan, the young Reilly would make the first of his well over 300 competitive appearances for the club when lining up alongside his hero Gordon Smith in a victory against Kilmarnock in October 1945. Later as an integral member of the illustrious Famous Five forward line, Reilly would go on to become Hibs top scorer, (excluding wartime fixtures) with 234 goals in all games and would end his career as Hibs most capped player with 38 appearances for the full Scotland side and another 13 for the Scottish League. It was while winning his 12cap in Scotland’s 5-0 victory against Belgium at the Stadium in May 1951 that Reilly overtook goalkeeper Harry Rennie’s record as Hibs most capped player, a record that had stood for 43 years.
Injury, however, would finally force Reilly into premature retirement, his last ever game against old adversaries Rangers at Easter Road just a few days before Hibs faced Clyde in the 1958 Scottish Cup Final at Hampden, Reilly perhaps predictably scoring one of the goals in the 3-1 victory. He would spend the remaining years of his retirement running his pub the Bowlers Rest in Leith, a venue popular with the supporters, and was later a match-day host at his beloved Easter Road. In the years before his death in 2013 aged 84 he was also a valued member of the Hibernian Historical Trust.
Written by Tom Wright