Despite only making 47 appearances for Hibernian, Daniel Andersson still retains cult status amongst the support to this day.
Andersson started his career in the lower reaches of Swedish football, plying his trade with Bjuvs FF, Ramlosa BoIS and Angelholms FF, before joining Kalmar. He left there to play for Hogaborgs, winning Sweden’s Division Three, which helped kick-start his career.
In 1998 he joined unfancied Trelleborgs FF who were in the top flight, and despite being tipped for relegation every year, they doggedly stayed in the highest division in Sweden – with Andersson’s contribution to the cause a vital aspect of their survival.
AIK Stockholm snapped up the goalkeeper and he played for the Swedish behemoths for three years, with his performances earning him a call-up to the Swedish national team in 2001 against Finland.
His opportunities became limited and in 2003 he made the switch from Stockholm to Edinburgh, opting to join Bobby Williamson’s Hibernian, replacing Tony Caig and providing extra competition to Nick Colgan.
After initially sitting on the bench, he made his debut in a 3-2 defeat away to Celtic, where Tam McManus was cruelly denied a hat-trick due to an incorrect offside call, before keeping a clean sheet the following game in 1-0 victory at home to Motherwell.
Colgan played the last game of the season before he left for pastures new, leaving Andersson as the first choice goalkeeper for the 2003/04 season.
It began well as Derek Riordan and McManus scored as Hibernian won 2-1 away to Dundee United before winning an Edinburgh Derby the following week.
Andersson had to be alert to make a save against Mark de Vries who manoeuvred beyond a challenge to force a 16-yard effort goalwards. Grant Brebner was shown a controversial red card before Daniel made a series of saves, with another impressive stop coming from Scott Severin’s long-range drive.
With just seconds remaining, Garry O’Connor rammed the ball home at the near-post under the body of Tepi Moilanen to seal a 1-0 victory, in a game which was a tale of two goalkeepers.
The Swede will forever be remembered for his contribution in the CIS Cup run that season, as his experience helped guide the team into the final, where the side unfortunately tasted defeat.
In the beginning of the tournament, he was a mere spectator as he watched Hibernian shred Montrose 9-0, but in the Third Round he faced a more taxing evening as Queen of the South fought back after two Riordan goals. Andersson had to be alert to the pressure the Dumfries outfit forced in the latter stages of the game, before eventually conceding a late penalty.
A victory in the last eight against Celtic, which also inflicted their first domestic defeat of the season, was to follow, before Andersson’s most famous performance in a Hibernian jersey arrived.
Rain-sodden and bitterly cold, Hampden Park hosted the semi-final tie between Hibernian and Rangers, which is a much revered win to this day.
His involvement truly began in the 26th minute as Mikel Arteta and Fernando Ricksen combined well to release Ronald de Boer, and the Dutchman was fouled by Andersson. Atoning for his error, he dived low and made the save to deny Arteta the opening goal on the night from the spot.
Michael Mols found a way beyond Andersson to make it 1-0, but Christian Nerlinger and Maurice Ross were unable to beat the Swedish shot-stopper. With 11 minutes left, Stephen Dobbie rifled high into the net beyond Stefan Klos to ensure the game went into extra-time.
Following 30 frenetic, but ultimately goal-less minutes, a penalty shoot-out was needed to decide the game. Shota Arveladze hit his effort over the bar, before Andersson made a fantastic save to deny Michael Ball. With the spot-kicks eventually tied at 3-3, the telling moments were to come.
Mathias Kouo-Doumbe struck the bar, leaving Zurab Khizanishvili with the chance to send the Govan side into the final. The Georgian’s powerful effort was pushed onto the bar by Andersson, before Colin Murdock put Hibernian 4-3 ahead. And, after a pulsating shoot-out, Frank de Boer rolled his effort against the post to spark wild scenes in Glasgow.
The next two games were draws, 0-0 at Tannadice and a 1-1 draw at Easter Road, with Andersson ensuring the spoils were shared in the Edinburgh Derby after making a stunning stop from Paul Hartley’s free-kick in the last moments of the match, pushing it onto the post with the deftest of touches.
The end to the season was not the best with just four wins from 15 matches. Despite this, Andersson continued to impress and helped keep the side in games and competing as their youthfulness became their undoing – despite their obvious talent.
Tony Mowbray’s arrival signalled the end of Andersson’s time in Leith, with the goalkeeper uncertain of receiving a new deal. He left to join Helsingborgs back in his native Sweden, and remained at the club until 2009, before moving back to former club Angelholms for one year.
In 2011, Andersson rejoined Helsingborg, and helped them win the Allsvenskan and Svenska Cupen the same season. He played in the UEFA Champions League qualifying defeat against Celtic the following year, and in 2015 he made headlines around the world after coming out of retirement and playing for Henrik Larsson’s side, despite being the kitman and goalkeeper coach for Di Roe – keeping a clean sheet in the process against Kalmar at the age of 42.
Still revered and fondly remembered by the Hibernian support, Andersson’s Hampden heroics will ensure he will remain a cult hero to the Easter Road faithful.
Full name Daniel Lennart Andersson
Date of birth 18th December 1972
Place of birth Bjuv, Sweden
Height 6ft 11/2in