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  • Goals Galore

    A little something to cheer you up in case you're depressed by the PNE score, the lack of further signings or indeed if you're stuck at work on a sunny day

    Saturday 25 October 1959 was an historic day for Edinburgh’s two football clubs. At Hampden, Hearts were disposing of a plucky Third Lanark side and in the process winning the Scottish League Cup but Hibs would not be upstaged by their Gorgie neighbours as on the same afternoon they were at Broomfield Park, Airdrie rattling eleven goals past their hosts!

    For anyone reading this article who may think that was a freak score – read on. On the previous Saturday Hibs had thrashed Dunfermline 7-4 at Easter Road and on the previous Monday night they’d thumped Bolton Wanderers 5-2 in a friendly, also at Easter Road. A certain young centre forward by the name of Joe Baker had scored five goals over those two games and he would nab a hat trick against Airdrie but be outgunned by team mate Tommy Preston who got four.

    Going into the Airdrie game Hibs had been showing fairly mixed for league wise and sat mid table whilst the Diamonds struggled near the bottom. The goals for column for Hibs made good reading but the goals against kinda suggested they were weaker in defence than attack.

    Anyone present at Broomfield that Saturday afternoon was treated to a master class in how the game should be played. Hibs’ passing was crisp and accurate which was no mean feat against a side known best for its industrial style of football. The hosts kicked off but in truth they saw little of the ball after that and within five minutes were a goal down when a Willie Ormond cross was chested into the net by Baker. Six minutes later it was two as Baker tied Airdrie centre half Doug Baillie in knots before clipping the ball to Ormond who shuttled it in front of Johnny McLeod allowing the youngster to fire home from close range. It seems Baillie was injured in that build up and the less charitable suggested his legs resembled a corkscrew such was the run-around he was getting from Baker. A further seven minutes elapsed before Hibs made it 3-0 through Joe Baker and that was the score at the interval.

    No sooner had the second half started than Hibs scored again and in fact during the first nine minutes they actually doubled their interval lead when Joe Baker completed his hat trick, Preston claimed his first and Ormond chipped in single. By the time Storrie scored for Airdrie in the 70th minute, Preston had completed his hat trick and so that goal by the home side made it 8-1 to Hibs. A fourth from Preston, a second for Johnny McLeod and a thundering drive from Joe McClelland gave Hibs a victory by 11-1 and left the hosts and their supporters in stunned silence.

    Scoring double figures in a league match is rare and when those goals come in an away match it’s rarer still but Hibs did it again, to Partick Thistle in December 1959! Prior to detailing that game it’s worth pointing out that in the weeks between the Airdrie and Thistle matches Hibs drew 3-3 with Celtic, 6-6 with Middlesbrough at home and beat them 4-3 away and 5-1 against Ayr United at Somerset Park.

    Saturday 19 December 1959 was a day that surely spoiled the Christmas of many a Partick Thistle fan whilst ensuring followers of Hibs had a fantastic time! With around 10,000 watching on and the crisp air and clear skies making it a great day for football, Hibs got right down to business and were a goal up inside 60 seconds. Willie Ormond raced down the left wing, flighted in an inviting cross and there was Tommy Preston outjumping his marker to head into the net. Nine minutes later the goal machine that was Joe Baker grabbed a second for Hibs after a defence splitting pass from John Baxter sent the Hibs man racing through to finish. It was one way traffic with Jackie Wren in the Hibs goal a virtual spectator at times. Indeed, Jacky would have been watching from afar when just after the half hour mark Baker passed to Johnny McLeod who crossed the ball into the box and it struck defender Wright so that before the Thistle keeper could move the ball was behind him. By half time it was 5-0 after a Preston thunderbolt and a McLeod tap in. Poor John Freebairn the Jags goalkeeper must have wanted a lie down in a dark room during the break rather than the traditional cup of tea.

    The game recommenced and after six minutes it was 6-0 when a cross from Bobby Johnstone was headed back across goal by Ormond for McLeod to tap in before Thistle’s Smith finally found a way through to make it 6-1 with a somewhat controversial goal. Reports suggest that Joe McClelland got back to clear before the ball was in the net but that his kick saw the ball strike Smith, hit the underside of the crossbar and bounce down then back into the field of play. Referee Mackie awarded the goal whilst Joe was adamant the ball hadn’t crossed the line. All that controversy served to do was annoy Hibs and they set about scoring a few more goals. On the hour McLeod made it seven only for Smith to score again at the other end which meant that with just under a third of the match remaining it was 7-2 in favour of Hibs. Number eight from Hibs came from a beautiful swerving shot from Ormond; Preston added a ninth after Ormond and Baker had combined to set him up and the tenth and final Hibs goal was nabbed by Joe Baker, his 29th league strike of the season.

    So, 10-2 the final score and a very happy Christmas for all at Easter Road and especially for Joe Baker who went on to score an incredible 42 for the season whilst Hibs finished seventh out of eighteen. It’s worth pointing out that Hibs scored 106 goals in 35 games and had their defensive record been as impressive they might have put in a serious challenge for the title. As it was they conceded 85 and finished on 35 points. The league went to Hearts with the Gorgie side scoring four goals fewer than Hibs but conceding only 51 to earn 54 points and pip Kilmarnock for top spot.
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