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Hurrah for the Green Jerseys: A Scottish Cup Final Odyssey

This Saturday’s match sees Hibernian make their 15th ever Scottish Cup Final appearance, with the Easter Road club looking to lift the iconic silverware for the fourth time in history.

Of course, the Class of 2016 famously ended a Scottish Cup drought lasting an incredible 114 years, and it’s perhaps a sign of the club’s ambition and progress that - just five years on - the current crop of Hibs stars are seeking to repeat the feat.

Like any football club, Hibs have experienced highs and lows.

But you only need to ask Hibs fans of a certain vintage who’ll tell you that those highs and lows have probably been most pronounced in this competition in particular.

If you start at the beginning of Hibs’ Scottish Cup Final story, a crowd of 15,000 saw the Edinburgh club win their first of their three trophies to date on February 12, 1887, when they recorded a 2-1 win over reigning cup holders Dumbarton.

After a goal-less first half, during which Dumbarton claimed a goal which had gone outside of the post (there were no nets in those days), the Sons did take the lead early in the second half.

However, Hibs battled back to equalise and then controversially score in the last minute with the Dumbarton defenders claiming offside. Reports of the game later suggested the smile on the face of Hibs captain McGhee meant that Hibs may have had the rub of the green for once.

After the cup win, the victorious party were entertained to speeches, songs and a supper in St Mary’s School in East Rose Street in the east end of Glasgow before returning to the capital by train.

Around 2,000 people are said to have greeted the players at 10pm when the train arrived at Waverley Station, along with two bands, plus a brake and horses bearing a large banner which read ‘Hurrah for the Green Jerseys’ which lead huge celebrations to the Tron Kirk then finally to St Mary’s Street.

Hibs were next in the final in 1896, and it remains the only final to be played outside Glasgow.

At New Logie Green, the home ground of St Bernard’s, Hibs came up against city rivals Hearts and the latter came out on top thanks to a Davie Baird penalty and goals from Alex King and Willie Michael. Jo O'Neill scored a consolation goal for Hibs.

Hearts and Hibs played the 1896 final at New Logie Green.

The Hibees were back six years later and they lifted the silverware for the second time by seeing off Celtic 1-0 at Celtic Park on April 26 1902.

The game had been scheduled to be played at Ibrox on April 12, but the first Ibrox disaster took place the week earlier and forced the final to be moved.

Going to Celtic’s home ground for the cup final was a daunting prospect at the time, but Hibernian won the match 1-0 thanks to a 75th-minute goal from Andy McGeachan.

Little did anyone associated with the club know that this would be their last Scottish Cup triumph for 114 years.

The cup winning Hibs side.

It wasn’t for the want of trying though.

The next final was reached in 1914 when Celtic were the opponents at Ibrox, and a 0-0 draw in the game meant a replay was needed.

Hibs, however, found themselves four goals down during the game and, despite a late consolation, never looked like winning it.

The Glasgow Herald’s report perhaps summed it up: “It was not often that (Celtic goalkeeper) Shaw was seriously troubled, and he was invariably very safe, as indeed, was the whole Celtic defence.”

A poster advertising the cup replay.

Nine years passed before the next Scottish Cup final appearance but Hibs progressed all the way in both 1923 and 1924.

Celtic stood in the way in 1923, when 80,000 fans at Hampden saw the Hoops win the trophy for the 10th time after a very tight game thanks to a goal by Joe Cassidy.

A year later, Hibs went down 2-0 – this time to Airdrieonians, who had Willie Russell to thank for his first half double. Hibs had gone into the game having beaten the Diamonds 2-0 in the league just a week earlier.

It would be another 23 years before Hibs booked their spot in the Scottish Cup final, and it was Aberdeen who emerged victorious on the day.

In front of over 82,000 fans at Hampden, Hibs took a very early lead but the Dons recovered and rallied back to win 2-1.

Action from the 1947 final as Aberdeen came back to win.

A 1-0 loss to Clyde in 1958 was a bitter blow for a side featuring names including Eddie Turnbull, Joe Baker and Willie Ormond, with John Coyle’s goal separating the sides.

The 70s then saw Hibs in two Scottish Cup finals, the first in 1972 when 106,102 supporters were reported to have seen Celtic lift the trophy at Hampden once again after a 6-1 thrashing.

Dixie Deans became one of the few players in history to net himself a cup final hat-trick, with a double from Lou Macari and a goal from Billy McNeill completing the scoring. Alan Gordon scored for the Hibees.

Dixie Deans grabbed a hat-trick in the 1972 final.

Seven years later, Eddie Turnbull’s men were paired with Rangers and the sides could not be split after the initial match at Hampden and a subsequent replay.

Both games ended 0-0, forcing a second replay, and Rangers ran out 3-2 winners.

Goals from Tony Higgins and Ally McLeod weren’t enough on the day, as a Derek Johnstone double was added to by the unfortunate Hibs defender Arthur Duncan who put the ball into his own net.

Hibs' Arthur Duncan scored a cup final winner.....but for Rangers.

Three more finals were to end in heartache for Hibs, with Celtic again the victors in 2001 as a strike from Jackie McNamara and two from Henrik Larsson seeing the Hoops win 3-0.

Then came 2012’s 5-1 defeat to Hearts – the first time the clubs had met in a Scottish Cup Final since 1896.

Because both teams were from Edinburgh, many of the city councillors requested that the final be held in the capital at Murrayfield, nstead of the traditional venue of Hampden.

However, it was played at Hampden after all the debate, and it’s one trip to the National Stadium that Hibees want to forget.

They were back a year later though, and it was another heart-breaking loss to Celtic who ran out 3-0 winners once again thanks to two goals from Gary Hooper and a Joe Ledley strike.

A 10th consecutive Scottish Cup final loss was a hard one to take, but it just made everyone involved with Hibs more determined to shake that particular hoodoo when they got back to Hampden to face Rangers in 2016.

At the time, it was the first final to be contested by two teams from outside the top tier of Scottish football, but for Hibs it represents Scottish Cup success number three – and an unforgettable weekend of celebrations both in the ground and throughout Edinburgh.

A topsy-turvy game saw Hibs take an early lead through Anthony Stokes before Kenny Miller and Andy Halliday turned things around.

The rest is history, as they say, with Stokes levelling things up 10 minutes from time before captain David Gray headed home a stoppage time winner.

Five years on, the lasting image for many from that day in May remains the Hibs’ fans incredible rendition of Sunshine on Leith from the stands.

And while the supporters won't be there in person belting out the club's anthem, we all know the Class of 2021 will be pulling out all the stops on their behalf to bring some more sunshine back to Leith this weekend.