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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.




Born in Liverpool in 1940, Joe Baker moved with his family to the Motherwell area to escape the bombing of the English port when he was just a few weeks old.

A prolific schoolboy talent, he was signed by Hibs from Coltness Thistle before being farmed out to the Junior side Armadale Thistle. After just one appearance for the reserve side, Baker made his first team debut in a League Cup game against Airdrie at Broomfield in August 1957, quickly bursting onto the scene in spectacular fashion to become the brightest young talent to light up the Scottish game for many years.

In October that year he scored his first goal for the first team in Hibs’ 4-2 victory over Hearts in a game to officially open the new Tynecastle floodlights, both Hibs goals in a 2-0 victory on his home debut against Queens Park on the Saturday, and a hat-trick in a 5-2 home victory in a floodlight friendly against Tottenham Hotspur on the Monday evening.

Baker had scored over 100 goals for the club before he was 21, a true Roy of the Rovers fairy tale.


reilly cap 1


For Baker it was goals all the way but he is probably best remembered for scoring all Hibernian goals in a 4-3 Scottish Cup victory against red-hot favourites Hearts at Tynecastle in 1958.

Among the many other milestones was when scoring in both games in Hibs’ famous Fairs Cup victory against Barcelona in 1960/61, nine in a 15-1 Scottish Cup victory against Peebles Rovers also in 1961, and his 42 league goals in the 1959/60 season that remains a club record to this very day.

At that time you could only play for the country of your birth and in November 1959, Baker made football history by becoming the very first player from outside the Football League to be capped for the full England side, making a scoring debut in a 2-1 victory against Ireland at Wembley.

As well as attracting the attention of several clubs south of the border, his fame had spread even further afield and he joined the Italian side Torino at the end of the 1960/61 season. His time in Italy however would not be a happy one, and he became the Arsenal manager Billy Wright’s first signing for the Highbury club in 1962. After further service with Nottingham Forest and Sunderland he returned to his first love Hibs in January 1971, scoring in a 2-1 victory against Aberdeen before finally ending what had been an incredible career with Raith Rovers in 1974.

As well as a Scottish Schoolboy cap against England at Goodison in 1954, Baker would also win a full England Cap in a game against Scotland at Hampden in 1960, one of eight he would be awarded during his illustrious career. Part of the original pool of 40 for the World Cup Finals in England in 1966, Baker would be one of the unlucky ones to drop out when the squad was reduced to the final 22.

A huge favourite wherever he played, sadly Joe Baker would die after suffering a heart attack on the golf course on the 6th October 2003 aged just 63, but he is still fondly remembered by all those fortunate enough to have witnessed him at his very best.




After a failed attempt to join both the recently formed Edinburgh Football Association and the SFA, it was only after a petition was presented by some of the prominent players in the Edinburgh area that Hibernian would eventually be allowed to join both associations.

Hibs first took part in the local Edinburgh Association Cup in October 1876, a knock-out tournament that had been inaugurated only the previous year and contested not only by sides from the Edinburgh area but also from East and West Lothian, the Borders and Fife.

Losing 2-1 to Hanover in the first round at the East Meadows, the following year the club would go all the way to the final before losing 3-2 at Merchiston to Hearts, a game requiring four replays to eventually settle the outcome.

However on 29th March 1879, Michael Whelehan, a co-founder of the club, became the first Hibs captain to be presented with silverware after a 2-0 victory over Hearts at Union Park, again after a replay. Winning the competition for the third consecutive year in 1881, as was the habit of the time, the club was allowed to retain the trophy in perpetuity and it is presently on display in the Easter Road boardroom. The cup would be replaced by the Edinburgh Association Shield, now better known as the East of Scotland Shield, and the third oldest association football trophy in the world still to be played for today.


edinburgh association cup 1


After the success of 1879, Hibs were now recognised as the top side in the east of the country, and except from the 1883/84 final against Edinburgh University when the Easter Road side had been unable to raise a team, the club would not suffer defeat in the competition again for the next eight years until losing 1-0 to Mossend Swifts at neutral Tynecastle in 1888.

Originally considered a relatively important competition, in later years the final would usually be contested only between Hibs and Hearts, the game normally played at the end of the season featuring full strength sides. In recent years the competition has declined in importance and today it is competed by the youth sides from both Edinburgh clubs.




At the end of the 1930/31 season Hibs would be relegated for the first time in the club’s history with only nine victories from the 38 games played, and were now in severe difficulties with genuine concerns regarding its very survival.

Failing to gain promotion at the first time of asking, only managing to finish a disappointing seventh during the following campaign, they would end the 1932/33 season as champions. Now under the astute leadership of Chairman Harry Swan and director Tom Hartland, the following few years would again prove difficult, but eventually after the appointment of the former Hearts manager Willie McCartney who had left the Tynecastle club in mysterious circumstances the previous year, and several inspired signings, there would be a gradual improvement.


championship medal 1


During the Second World War Hibs would be the nearest challengers to the dominance of Rangers, coming into their own during golden post war years when the Easter Road side, led by the illustrious Famous Five forward line would be widely recognised as the best club side in the entire country.

The medal is currently on display in the Easter Road boardroom and we are indebted to the family of Tom Hartland for its loan.




The Belgian football authorities made a presentation to Hibs player Jock Govan and the rest of the Scotland side following an international match at Hampden on 28th April 1948.

That evening, a 2-0 victory for Scotland, Hibs would be represented by no fewer than five players, right-back Jock Govan, Davie Shaw at left-back, Gordon Smith at outside-right, Bobby Combe who was a scorer of one of the Scotland goals, at inside-right and Eddie Turnbull completing the quintet at inside left. There would be even more representation for the Easter Road side with Hugh Howie listed as travelling reserve. The former Hibs player Leslie Johnston who had joined Clyde just a few months before, lined up at centre-forward.


jock govan 1


A few weeks later all five would again be selected in Scotland’s 2-1 defeat by Switzerland in Berne, with Govan, Shaw and Smith featuring in a 3-0 defeat by France a couple of weeks later. That however, is according to the record books.

Most credit Eddie Turnbull with just eight full caps when in fact he represented Scotland at full level nine times. The record books show the Hearts player Charlie Cox as winning his one and only cap at inside-forward in the game against France, when in fact Cox was never capped, Eddie Turnbull later proved to have been selected at inside-left.


Written by Tom Wright

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