THE PLAYERS

 

Players to wear the green and white of the Hibees.

Here is a growing collection of players and internationalists to feature for Hibernian throughout the years.

Position Forward

Born in the mining village of Winchburgh in West Lothian, Gibson first made his name with Livingston United before joining Hibernian in 1956 as a 17 year old.

 

 

Many Hibs' players have gone on to make an name for themselves in the top league in England, including Joe Baker, Peter Cormack, Bobby Johnstone, Alex Cropley, John Brownlie and Des Bremner, to name but a few, however in Leicester, one name is probably held in higher regard than any of these esteemed figures, and that's Dave Gibson.

Born in the mining village of Winchburgh in West Lothian, Dave first made his name with Livingston United before joining Hibs in 1956 as a 17 year old. The slightly built youngster with the distinctive blond hair soon began to make a name for himself scoring an impressive ten goals in 23 reserve team outings; however a lack of confidence in his ability hindered his progress.

Nevertheless, within a month of his signing for the club, he made his first team debut in a 1-0 defeat to Falkirk at Easter Road in a League Cup tie, and was the fifth forward in a forward line which contained Gordon Smith, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond. Dave later joked that the forward line that night was known as the 'Famous Four and a Half' due to his diminutive stature.

He retained his place in the team which lost 4-1 at Firhill against Partick Thistle three days later, but only managed one more game in that season, a 4-1 win over Aberdeen in January.

The following season, Dave only played one game, but he finally broke into the first team in November 1958 alongside a teenage centre forward Joe Baker who scored a hat-trick in Hibs' 3-2 win over Celtic. Two weeks later, Dave opened his account with a brace against Partick Thistle and by the end of the season; he had played an impressive 25 times.

During the next two seasons, Dave only managed 11 appearances, although two of them were against Roma; in the 3-3 away draw in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup in Italy which meant that the teams were level on aggregate following a 2-2 draw at Easter Road. Unfortunately the away goals rule was not in effect at that time, and the Dave played in the play-off defeat at the end of the season.

His confidence grew during his national service with the Kings Own Scottish Borders where he met a man not short of self-belief; 'Slim' Jim Baxter who would arguably become one of the greatest players ever to grace the Scottish game. Dave realised that he would have to believe in his own undoubted ability if he were to succeed in the game.

Dave managed 20 games in his last season with the club, including two Fairs Cup ties with Red Star Belgrade, but his last appearance in the green and white jersey was on 17 January 1962 when he scored Hibs' only goal in a 4-1 defeat to Hearts at Easter Road.

One amazing game in particular stands out in Dave's Scottish career, which was a curtain raiser for the season when he played in an Edinburgh Select against Burnley who had just lost the FA Cup Final to double winning Spurs. The Edinburgh XI lost 7-4 but three players scored hat-tricks, including Dave.

His form with Hibs attracted the attention of Leicester City manager Matt Gillies, who had actually spotted Dave when he was in the army, and the deal was sealed when Assistant Manager Bert Johnson spotted Dave playing for Hibs at Parkhead.

A £40,000 cheque secured Dave's signature, and he went on to become a fans' favourite at Filbert Street, where he became the playmaker and creative force behind the great Leicester City team of the early sixties, which is still revered in the city.

As he was still doing national service when he signed, his appearances were restricted, and he eventually made his debut on 2 March 1962. The following season, Dave began to form a deadly partnership down the left-flank of Leicester's attack with Mike Stringfellow, and became a key fixture in the Foxes' side as they chased the league and cup double.

With five games remaining, Leicester sat top of the table and were in the FA Cup Final against Manchester United, but they eventually fell short in both competitions, finishing fourth in the league whilst Manchester United won 3-1 at Wembley, thanks to goals from Denis Law and David Herd for Matt Busby's first trophy since the Munich air disaster.

Dave then helped Leicester to victory in the 1964 League Cup final scoring a goal in both legs of the final against Stoke City. The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw thanks mainly to Leicester's keeper Gordon Banks, and City won the second leg 3-2. Dave's goal was a near post bullet header from a Howard Reilly corner.

He also helped Leicester to the 1965 League Cup final against Chelsea. The London team won the first leg 3-2 at Filbert Street and held on for a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge to win the trophy.

In 1969, Dave helped Leicester City to the FA Cup Final at Wembley, but a Neil Young goal midway through the first half gave Manchester City the victory.

Whilst a Leicester City player, Dave was capped seven times for Scotland, and his first came in an infamous game against Austria in 1963 at Hampden Park which was abandoned with Scotland winning 4-1 after three visitors were sent off.

He also played in an impressive 6-2 win against Spain in the Bernabeau where every Scotland forward scored. Dave got one, and Willie Henderson, Ian St John, Dave Wilson, Denis Law and Leicester team mate Frank McLintock scored the others. In all he scored three international goals, the other two coming against Wales and Finland.

Dave joined Aston Villa in 1970 where he played 19 times over two seasons, scoring one goal. He then ended his career at Exeter City for whom he played 71 times, scoring three goals, before hanging his boots up and becoming a postman. He later ran a care home in Leicestershire, and has recently written his biography 'Gibbo' The Dave Gibson Story.

Dave now lives in Dorset and remains fondly remembered at Easter Road, but in particular amongst the Leicester City fans, many of whom consider him to be the most skilful player in the club's history.

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