|"Another Generation" - below are links to a series of articles that cover in more detail the history of Hibernian Football Club on a season-by-season basis, over time this will be built into the most comprehensive history of the football club available.|
Another Generation Series
Hibernian Football Club are not only one of Scotland's most famous clubs, they have been pioneers for British football.
They were the first British club to enter European competition in 1955. Hibernian were invited to compete in the inaugural Champions Cup and in the first round they met German club Rot Weiss Essen. Hibs won 4-0 in Essen and the return tie in Scotland ended in a 1-1 draw.
That year Hibs went on to reach the semi-finals only to be defeated by a Reims side inspired by great French footballer Raymond Kopa.
This period was Hibernian's most successful when they had the forward line know as "The Famous Five" made up of Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond.
Hibs had won the League championship in 1947/48, 1950/51, and 1951/52, and were famed for their attacking football.
At this time the Club toured Europe and South America long before it was fashionable and played many exhibition games with English clubs such as Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
While the Forties and Fifties were the Club's golden years, Hibernian have gone on to play in European competition 16 times since then.
The Sixties were a rich period with Hibernian reaching the semi-finals of the Fairs Cup (UEFA) in 1961 before losing to Roma in a third match play-off in the Olympic Stadium.
For a short period Scotland's greatest coach Jock Stein (pictured left) managed the team and orchestrated the 2-0 defeat of the legendary Real Madrid at Easter Road in 1964. They also beat in European competition the Barcelona side of that era led by Luis Suarez.
Over the next decade Hibs played host to clubs such as Juventus, Porto, Leeds United and Liverpool in UEFA competition. In 1968 they beat Napoli 5-0. The Italians' goalkeeper that night was none other than Dino Zoff.
The following season Hibs played two German clubs. They defeated Lokomitiv Leipzig (3-1, 1-0) in the second round of the UEFA Cup. In the next round they were drawn against SV Hamburg who still featured the great German internationalist Uwe Seeler. Another German star Sigi Held played in that tie. Hamburg won 1-0 at home and went through on away goals after Hibs could only win 2-1 in Edinburgh.
On the home front Hibs again achieved success winning the League Cup in 1972, defeating Jock Stein's Celtic team. During that period they picked up the Drybrough Cup twice in 1972 and 1973.
The side was managed by former Famous Five player Eddie Turnbull (pictured right) and featuring Scottish internationalists Pat Stanton, Alex Cropley, John Blackley and Arthur Duncan.
Between 1979 and 1989 Hibs missed out on European competition. This lean period however, was enlivened by the signing of former European Footballer of the Year, George Best, for two seasons.
Hibernian returned to European football in 1989 under the leadership of Alex Miller, who managed Hibernian through a difficult period in the clubs history. Hibernian beat Videoton of Hungary (1-0, 3-0) before losing to FC Liege of Belgium (0-0, 0-1), the latter game bringing great credit to the club for the behaviour of Hibernian fans, forging friendships that exist to this day.
In 1990, Wallace Mercer of city rivals Heart of Midlothian staged a controversial attempt to take-over the Club and close it down leaving only one senior club in Edinburgh. Sir Tom Farmer CBE saved the Club in 1991 when its owner, the listed company Forth Investments plc, went into receivership.
After two years of turmoil, the new stability brought to the Club paid immediate dividends to the fans when Alex Miller's Hibs won the 1991 Skol League Cup, beating Rangers in the semi finals (1-0) and Dunfermline in the final (2-0).
European football returned but Hibs were thwarted in their 1992 UEFA Cup campaign by Anderlecht, the Belgian champions, losing on the away goal rule (2-2, 1-1). In 1993, Hibs were again in the final of the League Cup but this time lost out to Rangers (1-2). Hibs finished the 1994/95 Season in third place in the league.
Developments off the field saw the building of two new stands giving Easter Road an all covered capacity of 16,000 seats. In 1996, after ten years at Easter Road, Alex Miller left Hibs and, after a brief spell with Jocky Scott in charge, Hibs appointed Jim Duffy as their Manager on 30 December 1996. The Club fought hard to avoid relegation and Premier Division status was eventually secured after a beating Airdrie 5-2 on aggregate in the play off matches.
Jim Duffy started the process of rebuilding the team during the summer of 1997 with signings of home grown and international players from Trinidad, Iceland and Benin, the first major influx of foreign stars since Hibs signed Jon Mason in the 1960's.
After a downturn in fortunes on the field Jim Duffy's short spell as manager was ended in February 1998 and he was replaced by former Scotland internationalist Alex McLeish. Alex's late arrival in the season was not enough to stop Hibs finishing bottom of the Premier league and being relegated for only the third time in their history.
Following relegation, which was confirmed in a 2-1 home defeat against Dundee United on 2 May 1998, after Grant Brebner had given Hibs a half-time lead, Alex McLeish had the difficult task of taking Hibernian into the First Division and straight back up again. However, it turned out to be a season to remember. Captained by John 'Yogi' Hughes, Hibs went on to enjoy a record-breaking season, which saw the team crowned worthy Champions of the Scottish Football League.
The season began with Stranraer recording a victory at Easter Road in Hibs' first home match of the season and the critics were writing the Club off, but that only served as motivation for the Easter Road players. Alex McLeish expertly handled a diverse squad of players, including stars like Stuart Lovell from Reading, Mixu Paatelainen from Wolves and later, Caribbean star, Russell Latapy.
Hibs also signed a European Cup Winner, Frenchman Franck Sauzee, that season and Hibs were soon to become a force to be reckoned with. That was confirmed when Hibs shocked an unbeaten Aberdeen side at Easter Road in the League Cup (1-0) courtesy of a late Stevie Crawford penalty. Throughout that season, Hibs put together an unbeaten sequence of 24 matches, recording a stunning 89 points, scoring 84 goals in the process. And Hibs finished 23 points clear of second placed Falkirk. Thirteen wins on the spin would earn Hibs the right to be back in the Premier League. Hibs romped to the title and the crowning moment witnessed a Latapy double over Hamilton, at Firhill in April 1999.
Once back in the top flight, Hibs performed well and finished mid-table in season 1999/2000. Hibs reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup that year, only for two late Aberdeen goals to scupper any dreams of lifting silverware. 1999/2000 saw a landmark moment in the Club's history as we bid farewell to the famous Easter Road slope.
Only three years earlier, Hibs were in the First Division. Many people had written off their chances of ever becoming a major force in Scottish football again. However, Alex McLeish took the Easter Road side back to where they belong, and in season 2000/2001, they blasted through the early season, recording six consecutive victories in August, and an unbeaten Hibs side sat proudly at the top of the SPL table.
Hibs also reached the final of the Tennent's Scottish Cup for the first time in 22 years but lost to Celtic at Hampden Park, although a tremendous effort was well-appreciated by the Easter Road faithful, and Hibs went on to secure third place behind the Old Firm, which meant European football was back at Easter Road again.
A spine-tingling season of football saw Hibs record a special 6-2 victory over city rivals Hearts at Easter Road. That demolition job on 22 October 2000 was a magnificent effort and a spectacular team performance was capped when Finnish International Mixu Paatelainen grabbed the first ever hat-trick in an Edinburgh derby. That game also saw John O'Neil score his first goal for the Club.
A brand new West Stand was completed for the start of season 2001/2002. Hibs also enjoyed European football and the Easter Road Club did themselves proud by almost knocking AEK Athens out of the UEFA Cup. Hibs lost 2-0 in Athens but recorded a 3-2 win at Easter Road (after extra-time).
Alex McLeish and Andy Watson departed for Ibrox and fans' favourite Franck Sauzee was installed as new Club manager. However the results didn't happen under the popular Frenchman and he was to be replaced by Bobby Williamson, who joined from Kilmarnock. Bobby recorded five wins from nine matches, which saw Hibernian retain their status in the top flight in Scottish football.
Bobby's time in charge produced an almost bizarre statistic, as the club was seemingly 'jinxed' by late goals and lost so many it was heart-breaking at one point. Indeed one leading football magazine noted in a survey that if you removed the final 15 minutes of every SPL match then Hibs would have finished in third spot and qualified for Europe!
A string of exciting young players characterised Hibs in recent years, and in Garry O'Connor, Derek Riordan, Scott Brown the club have some of the most exciting young talent in the Scottish game. This was further underlined when Tony Mowbray arrived at the club to take over the from Bobby Williamson who had departed at the end of the 2004/05 season to Plymouth. From that May 24th 2004 arrival, Tony promised to have Hibernian playing the type of free-flowing, attacking football that he knew the traditions of Hibernian Football Club demanded.
Tony was true to his word. The 2004/05 season was one of the most exciting seen at Easter Road since the 1970's. A very young and talented existing squad was added to with the arrival of such as Dean Shiels, Sam Morrow, David Murphy and in the minds of many Hibs supporters, the best of them all - Guillaume Beuzelin. For much of the season Hibernian produced a brand of football that had supporters flocking back to the stadium, the club bucking the trend somewhat in showing large attendance increases at a time when most in Scotland were seeing their gate receipts fall alarmingly.
Hibernian finished the season in 3rd place, and in doing so they were back in Europe - fittingly giving that this was the 50th anniversary year of Hibernian making that very first British entry into the European Cup.
Season 2005/06 provided more exciting football from Tony Mowbray's young side, but frustratingly brought no silverware to the Club. It was fitting that in this the 50th Anniversary year of the Club's entry into European Football they were once again involved in the UEFA Cup, it proved a slight disappointment however as they were to falter at the first hurdle to Dnipro. There would be no qualification for Europe either through the league and disappointing exits in both the CIS Insurance and Scottish Cups. For entertainment value there were few to match the young Easter Road side, the magic of turning that into trophies continued to elude the Club. There were some stunning moments all the same, not the least being a 3-0 win over Rangers at Ibrox Stadium, and a hat-trick that day for Ivan Sproule - who just a few days earlier had contemplated quitting the Club and returning to a 'civilian' job in Northern Ireland!
Hibernian supporters had waited decades for such a result, and amazingly later in the season, in the Scottish Cup, they repeated the feat - 3-0 again at Ibrox, this time with Sproule joined by Garry O'Connor and Chris Killen on the scoresheet. O'Connor was to leave the club shortly afterwards in a big-money move to Russia.
it was perhaps a little ironic that when the young Hibs side that had so lit up Scottish Football did finally lift a piece of silverware, it would be after the departure of Tony Mowbray. The Englishman achieved his own ambition in taking control of a major English side, West Bromwich Albion, eventually leading them to Premiership football at the end of the 2007/08 season. Taking over from Tony was a Hibernian playing legend, John Collins.
John's first week in charge included a CIS Insurance Cup Quarter-Final against Hearts at Easter Road, and Hibernian turned in a fantastic performance. They won the game by just a single goal, but there was never any real chance of the Tynecastle side leaving Easter Road and still remaining in the competition. After a tense Semi-Final win over St Johnstone at Tynecastle, Hibernian lined up for the final against Kilmarnock at Hampden Park on 18th March 2007. It would be a proud day in the history of Hibernian Football Club as the young Hibees ran riot, after skipper Rob Jones opened the scoring there would be doubles for Abdessalam Benjelloun and Steven Fletcher. Edinburgh, and in particular Leith, celebrated long into the night.
Off the field ambitious plans had been put in place by the Club to build its own Training Complex, and that dream finally came true when the fantastic Hibernian Training Centre in East Lothian was opened in December 2007 by Sir Tom Farmer. Just 24 hours later however, John Collins quit the Club, to be replaced in January 2008 by another former Hibernian player, Mixu Paatelainen. With several of the young stars that helped fuel the Tony Mowbray revolution at the club now departed, Mixu set about rebuilding another side, seeking to continue the fantastic on-field progress through the Hibernian Youth Academy.
Nobody knows what is around the corner for Hibernian Football Club, but as generations have done throughout the years, Hibernian supporters are sure to enjoy the journey!
(Last Updated June 2008)