November 29 1967, now there’s some supporters that will instantly recognise that date as being one of the most memorable in the club’s history… it was, of course, the night Napoli came to Easter Road.
At this point we were European regulars constantly challenging some of Europe’s elite, but this night was something completely remarkable, something many supporters, and even players, never thought was possible.
After beating Porto in the first round of the Fairs Cup, we were handed the task of Napoli, a side lined with starts like legendary goalkeeper Dino Zoff.
A difficult task suddenly became even harder after a comprehensive performance from the Italian side washed away Bob Shankly’s side, winning 4-1 in Napoli.
“Napoli were a great side,” admitted former Hibs man Pat Stanton. “They beat us 4-1 over there but to be honest, the scoreline flattered them. We were closer to them than that.”
The second leg followed and 21,000 supporters flocked to the stands hoping to see their side put up a fight against the Italian giants.
“They must’ve thought after the first leg it was done and dusted,” said the now 76-year-old Stanton as he recalled the match. “They had a player called José Altafini, Brazilian, one of their best players, he didn’t even come over for the second leg.”
“There was a big crowd at Easter Road, and we just wanted to do them proud. Napoli didn’t start very well, and we got a grip of the game straight away.
“But for me, the big turning point was our first goal from Bobby Duncan, our right back. He scored a tremendous goal, which made it 4-2; that gave you belief and made you think ‘something could be on here’.
“It really was a great goal, I think it was from 30-yards, and if you speak to him, he’ll tell you it was about 50-yards out!
“But that goal really lit the place up, the crowd went wild, and made you think it could be a special night.”
The goals continued to fall, Pat Quinn chalked up the club's 50th goal in European matches, before Peter Cormack nodded a third to tie the proceedings.
Then fell the chance to Stanton – a supporter’s favourite and a man who was denied earlier in the game by Zoff.
“My goal, the fourth, was a header. I just went up to support the forwards and was lucky the ball came over to me, I was at the back post, and head it in. To be part of a comeback like that was special.”
Colin Stein bagged a fifth just before the end as we ran out 6-4 winners on aggregate and sealed a European comeback that supporters will never ever forget.
“I honestly think if someone mentioned that game to Dino Zoff he would remember it,” laughed Stanton.
“It was a great night for the spectators and great for us too. We’ve had some tremendous European results at Easter Road.”