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  • On Foreign Fields (5)

    By mid September 1968 Hibs were once again on the European trail when they travelled to Yugoslavia to face Olympia Ljubljana in round one of the Inter Cities Fairs Cup. Prior to leaving Hibs had breezed through their League Cup qualifying group and had beaten East Fife 4-1 away in the first leg of their semi final but weighing against that was the fact that they’d not put any league points on the board at that stage and so there was some apprehension from the fans back in Edinburgh.

    We need not have worried because despite a heavy downpour Hibs turned in a sparkling display and won 3-0 thanks to goals from Eric Stevenson, Colin Stein and an own goal by Olympia defender Soskic.
    Two weeks later the visiting Yugoslav’s gave the home fans at Easter Road a bit of a shock when they took the lead in the second leg match but by the time the final whistle had blown Joe Davis had struck twice from the spot to make it 2-1 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate. Interestingly, one of the penalties came as a result of Colin Stein being upended in the box and although no-one, except perhaps Stein himself, knew that this would be his last European action for Hibs because by the time the second round ties came to be played he’d been transferred to Rangers for a then record fee between two Scottish clubs of £100,000.
    The second round draw paired Hibs with East German side Lokomotiv Leipzig with the first leg at home in mid November. Of course there would be no Colin Stein in the number nine jersey and it would be the first time the vast majority in the crowd would see his replacement Joe McBride in action and what an introduction it turned out to be as Hibs won 3-1 and McBride bagged a first half hat trick. In fact it turned out to be a second hat trick of sorts because ex Celt Joe had now scored in his first outing in all three European competitions having notched goals in both the European Cup and European Cup Winners Cup whilst with the Parkhead outfit. Joe’s treble had a wee bit of the shine taken off it when a defensive lapse allowed Naumann to notch a second half goal for the Germans. Losing the goal was bad enough but minutes after that Hibs’ winger Alex Scott was sent off after stupidly retaliating after being crudely chopped down by Gelssner who clearly felt that was the only way to stop him. Incidentally on that same night Dunfermline beat Olympiakos 4-0 at East End Park in the same tournament where teenage sensation and future Hibee Alex Edwards scored a double.

    A week later Hibs were in Leipzig without the suspended Scott but with first leg goal hero Joe McBride at number nine. Amazingly Joe had gone one better in his next Hibs match in scoring four of the five goals Hibs scored against Morton in the league match sandwiched between the two European ties. His name wasn’t on the scoresheet in Leipzig but team mate Colin Grant’s was as he scored the only goal of the game to carry Hibs through 4-1 on aggregate and set up a third round tie with West German side Hamburg.

    In mid December, Hibs ran out onto a frosty Volksparkstadion and take some time to settle after a gruelling and delay ridden journey to the German city where after just five minutes they fell a goal behind to a strike by Honig. Thereafter they pretty much gave as good as they got without every finding an equaliser. Hamburg had World Cup star Uwe Seeler in the forward line but John Madsen, Hibs’ Danish centre half kept him pretty well subdued and a 1-0 deficit going into the second leg did not seem insurmountable.

    For those of you that have read all of the ‘On Foreign Fields’ articles to date you will have realised that referees often proved to be as prominent as players in quite a number of the games and so it will come as no surprise to read that once again the referee takes centre stage in this latest European tie. Sven Jonsson of Sweden started early in that when the teams ran out at the start of the game the Hamburg goalkeeper was wearing a green top which clearly clashed with the tops worn by the Hibs outfield players. No action was taken by the referee to rectify that matter and it would prove to cost Hibs dear.

    After an early shock when the Germans missed an open goal Joe McBride fired a cracking drive past Oscan but Jonsson ruled it out for offside when that clearly was not the case and there was no-one in the 27,000 crowd who thought the decision correct. Next we had the sight of a clearly onside Pat Stanton firing home and once again the goal was ruled out for offside. It was becoming painfully obvious that that Oscan’s green top was confusing the linesman but once again Jonsson took no action. On the stroke of half time Jonsson finally got something right when he awarded a penalty after Cormack was hacked down by Willie Schultz but the normally very dependable Joe Davis failed to convert from the spot and the teams went in 0-0 at half time.

    With around 23 minutes left Hibs finally got a goal that was allowed to stand when Joe McBride pounced on a loose ball and netted from close range. That made it 1-1 on aggregate but tragically eleven minutes later a blunder by Hibs full back Bobby Duncan allowed Uwe Seeler to equalise. Poor Duncan was only playing his third match after coming back from a horrific leg break suffered in a match against Celtic when their winger John ‘Yogi’ Hughes had gotten away with an outrageous tackle on the Hibs man that would basically put paid to his career. With a minute left of the Hamburg game McBride scored a second to win the game 2-1 for Hibs but unfortunately the rule regarding away goals counting double in the event of a draw was now in force and so Hibs were out. After the match Leeds United boss Don Revie who had watched the game from the stand was scathing of the referee and gave his view that Hibs should have won 4-1 as the two disallowed goals were both scored ‘legally.’ Unfortunately, Revie’s words whilst both accurate and welcome would have no effect on the outcome.

    For season 1970/71 Hibs went into the Inter Cities Fairs Cup having finished third behind Celtic and Rangers in the previous season’s domestic league. When the first round draw was made it paired Hibs with Swedish opposition in Malmo with the first leg at Easter Road in mid September. Hibs boss Willie MacFarlane was in confident mood when he announced his team for the game and as things turned out he had every right to be. A slightly disappointing first half still ended with Hibs 2-0 up but in the second period the Hibees played some wonderful stuff and by the time the final whistle sounded it was Hibs 6 Malmo 0. The crowd of just over 11,000 left the stadium that night in happy mood thanks to goals by Jim Blair, Joe McBride who notched a hat trick and a double from Arthur Duncan.

    On the same night other British clubs had mixed fortunes with Rangers losing 1-0 away to Bayern Munich in the same competition as Hibs; Aberdeen beating Honved of Hungary 3-1 at Pittodrie in the Cup Winners Cup, that tournament also witnessing a narrow 1-0 home win for Man City against Irish minnows Linfield whilst in the European Cup Celtic trounced Kokkola of Finland 9-0 at Parkhead and Everton beat Keflavik of Iceland 6-2 at Goodison Park.

    Two weeks later Hibs were in Sweden where the hosts gave a better account of themselves scoring twice through Larsson and Jonsson but Hibs went one better in scoring three thanks to Bobby Duncan, Pat Stanton and Willie McEwan as the tie ended 9-2 on aggregate in favour of the men from Leith.

    Round two paired Hibs up with Portuguese outfit Vittoria Guimaraes and what a stuffy outfit they proved to be. In the first leg at Easter Road Hibs dominated possession throughout but with the final whistle only moments away and Willie MacFarlane’s men only leading 1-0 thanks to an Arthur Duncan strike, up stepped Pat Stanton to sweep the ball home and give his side a two goal cushion for the second leg.

    For a while in that second leg it looked like the match might go to extra time as the Portuguese had scored twice to cancel out Hibs’ advantage but then Johnny Graham scored for the Scots and although the game ended at 2-1 it was a puzzle as to why Hibs had not added to that Graham goal as from the moment it was scored they dominated. As it was the third round awaited after that 3-2 aggregate win.

    As always seemed to be the way with Hibs they got a really difficult draw for that next round when they were matched up with Liverpool. Ahead of the game there was a shock resignation at the club when Willie MacFarlane left following some kind of internal dispute. Perhaps he was unhappy that out of the blue Hibs had suddenly appointed Dave Ewing as first team coach and certainly the fans were somewhat confused by that move. Ewing it was who took charge of Hibs for the home leg tie against Bill Shankly’s Liverpool, a side bursting with talent whilst Hibs were a young outfit and it showed. Although the Hibees gave a decent account of themselves they missed Joe McBride, mystifyingly left on the bench by Ewing and went down 1-0 to a John Toshack goal.

    Three days before Christmas 1970 Hibs were at Anfield where around 37,000 watched on and that included a reasonable number that had made the journey down from Edinburgh, myself included. It has to be said that although Hibs ultimately lost the game they spent long periods of it dominating proceedings and even silenced the famous Kop at times. In fact it took a wonder goal by Steve Heighway to knock Hibs off their perch. The Irish speed merchant collected the ball in the centre circle and set off on a run that ended with him sliding the ball past the diving Roy Baines and into the net. With a mountain to climb Hibs went at their hosts again but a blunder by Baines allowed Phil Boersma to get the second and final goal of the game and take his side through 3-0 on aggregate. Make no mistake, Hibs did Scottish football proud that night even though they lost and went out of the tournament. In fact this would be the last season it would be called the Inter Cities Fairs Cup as from then on it would become the UEFA Cup. The last winners of it were Leeds United who then took on the first ever winners Barcelona to determine which club would retain the trophy for good. It was a one-off game played at the Nou Camp and it was won 2-1 by the hosts.

    **Image courtesy of hibsprogrammes.co.uk**
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Phil D. Rolls's Avatar
      Phil D. Rolls -
      A wee question John. When Hibs went to Anfield, did Liverpool play a full strength team?
    1. Jonnyboy's Avatar
      Jonnyboy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Filled Rolls View Post
      A wee question John. When Hibs went to Anfield, did Liverpool play a full strength team?
      They did indeed aye. They were pretty awesome even then but Hibs, with a touch more luck, might have beaten them over the two games
    1. PeeJay's Avatar
      PeeJay -
      Fantastic reading again Jonnyboy - had to go and dig out my programmes for all those games again (home ones anyway) I think we certainly did match Liverpool much better than the final score suggests. Wasn't Dave Ewing the manager who said Rangers were rubbish in the 1st cup semi final, whereupon they got mighty miffed about it and beat us in the replay? How come he became manager and what happened to him?
    1. Jonnyboy's Avatar
      Jonnyboy -
      Quote Originally Posted by PeeJay View Post
      Fantastic reading again Jonnyboy - had to go and dig out my programmes for all those games again (home ones anyway) I think we certainly did match Liverpool much better than the final score suggests. Wasn't Dave Ewing the manager who said Rangers were rubbish in the 1st cup semi final, whereupon they got mighty miffed about it and beat us in the replay? How come he became manager and what happened to him?
      Thanks for your kind comments Peejay - very much appreciated

      Ewing appeared on the scene as 'first team coach' when Willie MacFarlane was the Manager. Needless to say the appointment raised a few eyebrows and before long Willie resigned and Ewing was immediately appointed to the vacant post. Ewing was in charge when we met Liverpool and soon had the fans up in arms as he left high scoring Joe McBride on the bench. On the plus side it was Ewing that brought Joe Baker back to ER so he wasn't all bad.

      No idea where he went went he resigned after 7 months - he was English and so probably returned home
    1. Wing Half's Avatar
      Wing Half -
      Thanks for these great reports - but here's what happened to Dave Ewing:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Ewing
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