Posts Tagged ‘ Pat Stanton ’

Last Gasp Cummings Goal Saves Hibs’ Blushes


A Jason Cummings’ toe poke deep into injury time spared Hibs’ blushes and secured a valuable three points against part time Cowdenbeath at Easter Road this afternoon.

The day started with a celebration to mark legend Pat Stanton’s 70th birthday and several of his former team mates took the field to welcome him onto the hallowed turf.

The great man led both teams onto the park to a standing ovation from both sets of supporters then the players lined up for a minutes applause for former star Bobby Kinloch who sadly passed away last week. Continue reading

Hibs’ Fans Finance Headstone For Former Manager Dan McMichael


Hundreds of Hibs’ fans attended Saturday’s rededication service for former Manager, Secretary and Treasurer Dan McMichael at the Easter Cemetery in the shadow of the Famous Five Stand.

The event was organised by members of the St Patrick’s Branch of the Hibernian Supporters Association after it was discovered that Dan had been buried in an unmarked grave and a decision was quickly taken to rectify that situation. Continue reading

Hibs Legend Lawrie Reilly Dies Aged 84

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The last remaining member of the Hibs forward line of the early 1950’s known as the Famous Five has died in hospital aged 84.

Lawrie Reilly signed for Hibs in 1944 and made his first team debut in a 4-3 away victory against Kilmarnock in October 1945 at inside right to Gordon Smith. Continue reading

Hibernian’s Irish Roots Part 2 – Canon Hannan

Canon Edward Joseph Hannan was born in Ballingarry, County Limerick in Ireland on the 21st June 1836. He was ordained as a priest on the 13th May 1860 and initially continued his studies, being appointed as a Professor of Classics until, while on holiday in Scotland, he was persuaded by the Bishop responsible for the Church in the East of Scotland to move to Edinburgh. After arriving on the 17th April 1861, he began what would be a 30 year service at St Patrick’s Church in Edinburgh’s Cowgate. Continue reading

Fortieth Anniversary of the Famous Seven Nil Game

Today marks the fortieth anniversary of arguably the finest performance from a Hibs team in the club’s history.
The Irish News Review’s Hibernian correspondent John Hislop was one of the 35,989 spectators on that historic day and he recalls the players and manager who gained legendary status at the home of city rivals Hearts.
The previous season had ended with a 6-1 defeat to Jock Stein’s Celtic in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park, but despite the result, all Hibs’ fans could see that something special was happening at Easter Road. Manager Eddie Turnbull predicted that Hibs would soon be back at the National Stadium, and he was proved right at the start of the following season.
The Drybrough Cup featured the highest scoring teams in the first and second divisions at the time, and Hibs slaughtered Rangers three-nil at Easter Road in the semi-final, in a game best remembered for the off field crowd trouble in the old ‘cow shed.’ The final, three days later was also held up when Celtic fans outraged at being three-nil down invaded the pitch. The break spoiled Hibs concentration, and Celtic eventually clawed their way back into the game, forcing extra time. Goals from Jimmy O’Rourke and Arthur Duncan however saw the silverware head east along the M8.
A few months later, goals from Pat Stanton and Jimmy O’Rourke again saw off Celtic as Hibs won the League Cup.
An eight-one thrashing of Ayr United and a three-two win over Aberdeen in the league saw Hibs sitting two points behind Celtic as they travelled to Gorgie for the New Year’s Day game. The Old Firm derby had been postponed as a number of Celtic players had the flu, and Turnbull knew that his team could go top with a six goal victory.
In those days, games were not all ticket, and there was no segregation. Fans turned up at any turnstile and paid their money, before standing wherever they fancied on the terracing. Often, fans congregated behind whichever goal their team was attacking and would change ends at half time.
At Tynecastle however, the younger and more vocal supporters of both sides would face each other on the old covered terracing opposite the tunnel.
Hearts created some early chances and future Hibs coach Donald Park missed a decent opportunity for the home side before Hibs took the lead.
Erich Schaedler’s long throw was flicked on by Alan Gordon and Jimmy O’Rourke hammered a beautifully-struck left foot shot into the roof of the net.
A few minutes later, Alex Edwards sliced open the Hearts defence and Alan Gordon chested his pass down before tucking his shot into the net. Arthur Duncan exploited a defensive mistake to make it three 12 minutes later, then 10 minutes before the half-time break, and Alex Cropley volley made it four.
Hibs continued to attack, and after a well-worked short corner, Duncan’s glancing header slipping into the net to make it five just before half time.
After 56 minutes Hibs scored a sixth when Pat Stanton cut through the Hearts defence and slipped the ball past Kenny Garland, only to see his lifelong pal O’Rourke nudge the ball over the line. Since then Pat has regularly joked about Jimmy stealing his goal but he wasn’t complaining that day.
The scoring was completed when Alan Gordon nodded in an Arthur Duncan cross to make history and send Hibs top of the league.
The Hibs team that day was: Jim Herriot, John Brownlie, Erich Schaedler, Pat Stanton, Jim Black, John Blackley, Alex Edwards, Jimmy O’Rourke, Alan Gordon, Alex Cropley, and Arthur Duncan.
Jim Herriot had been one of Eddie Turnbull’s first signings. He was a Scotland international, and had played the majority of his career in England where his performances for Birmingham City had so impressed author James Alfred Wight that he stole Jim’s identity to write his ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ books.
The full backs were John Brownlie and Erich Schaedler. John was an unbelievable talent who had been capped by Scotland whilst still a teenager, which in those days was a remarkable achievement. ‘Shades’ had been bought from Stirling Albion by Willie Macfarlane, and was a tough tackler who belied his size. The son of a German POW, he also won international honours and was part of the Scotland World Cup Squad in Munich the following year.
In defence were Jim ‘Cilla’ Black, an under-rated tough centre half and the elegant ‘Sloop’ John Blackley who accompanied Schaedler to Munich.
In midfield was the incomparable Pat Stanton, who was described by Scotland boss Tommy Docherty as being better that Bobby Moore, England’s world cup captain. Stanton was class personified and how Hibs, who were never shy in selling their best players, were able to hold onto him for so long is a mystery. Everyone who saw Pat in action would agree that he could have graced any team in the UK, and his total of only sixteen Scotland caps is nothing short of a national disgrace.
Alongside Pat was Alex ‘Micky’ Edwards who is widely regarded as the best player never to win a Scotland cap. Had he been playing today, he would have been a first choice for his country, but at that time, the selectors preferred Old Firm players, no doubt to increase the crowd. To be fair though, Micky was in competition with Celtic’s Jimmy Johnstone and Rangers’ Willie Henderson at the time, and he did have a reputation for having a short temper, but very few before or since could pass the ball like him.
If Hibs were able to keep Pat Stanton, they could not do the same with Alex’ Sojer’ Cropley who graced Highbury and Villa Park in England’s top division. Born of Aldershot of Scottish parents, Cropley was one of the first players to be capped having been born outside the country, and his ability was such that he kept Kenny Dalglish out of the team. His skill on the ball was only rivalled by his bravery, and he suffered a number of serious injuries during his illustrious career.
On the left wing was Arthur ‘Nijinsky’ Duncan, whose nickname came from the horse rather than the ballet dancer, and whose speed caused problems for defenders everywhere.
Up front was ex Hearts forward Alan Gordon whose ability in the air was second to none. Once again, his lack of international caps in incomprehensible, for someone in his form. Strangely, although Scotland ignored Gordon, he was selected for a ‘Rest of the World’ team to play in West German defender Willi Schulz’s testimonial alongside Eusebio, Denis Law, Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore. In fact for much of the 72/72 season, Alan was neck and neck with Gerd Muller and Eusebio for the European Golden Boot.
Partnering Alan Gordon up front was Jimmy O’Rourke who had made his Hibs debut as a 16 year old. Another vastly under-rated player, by those outside Leith, Jimmy was and remains a fans’ favourite and is still a welcome face on match days.
The manager Eddie Turnbull was considered by many to be a better coach that Jock Stein. He had been a member of the famous five forward-line who won three league titles and was the first British player to score a goal in European football. He won the Scottish Cup with Aberdeen before returning to Easter Road and will always be fondly remembered by the Hibs faithful.
The team were and remain known as ‘Turnbull’s Tornadoes’ after the song written by Chairman Tom Hart’s wife.
The following Saturday, nearly 18,000 turned up to see Hibs retain top spot with a late victory over East Fife, but during that game, John Brownlie suffered a broken leg and Alex Edwards, who had been continuously fouled eventually lost his patience and threw the ball away, earning a booking and a 56-day suspension which ended Hibs title challenge.
That famous eleven would never start another game in the green and white jersey. In fact the starting line-up only played 22 games together, winning 18, drawing two and losing two. One of the games they lost was in Lisbon to Sporting FC 2-1 in the first leg of a European Cup Winners Cup tie. They won the second leg 6-1.
Last word about the game goes to Harry Gilzean, the Evening News cartoonist whose ‘Fitba daft’ strip featured a Hibs fan and Hearts fan who attended every Edinburgh game and discussed what had happened.
In his cartoon following the seven nil game, the Hearts fan is sitting depressed with a can of beer whilst his wife attempts to cheer him up. He responds by telling her that she doesn’t understand as the Hibs fans will still be talking about that game for the next thirty years. It seems that even Harry underestimated what that day meant to the supporters.
To mark the occasion, author Ted Brack has written a book entitled ‘The Game on New Year’s Day. Hearts 0 Hibs 7,’ which is available in all good book shops and is excellent value at £15.99.

40 Years Ago Today: Hibs 2 Celtic 1

programme(1)Today marks the 40th anniversary of Hibs’ League Cup victory against Celtic at Hampden Park, and the Irish News Review takes a trip down memory lane with club legend John Brownlie and author of several Hibs books Ted Brack.

Few outside Edinburgh gave Hibs any chance when they met Jock Stein’s Celtic on that cold December day in 1972.  Celtic had been European Cup winners in 1967, and reached the final three years later where they lost narrowly to Feyenoord after extra time.  They had won the Scottish League title seven time in a row, and many believed that their team which contained several of Stein’s ‘Quality Street Gang’ was even better that the Lisbon Lions. If that wasn’t enough, Celtic had hammered Hibs 6-1 in the Scottish Cup Final in May.

After that defeat, manager Eddie Turnbull defiantly told the press that Hibs would be back at Hampden in the near future and they would win. Certainly those supporters who watched Hibs regularly could see that Turnbull had built a tremendous team, and a sizeable number travelled to Glasgow with an air of confidence.

Amazingly, given the fact that Hibs had won three league titles in four seasons in the late 40s and early 50s, appeared in a European Cup semi-final and a Fairs Cup semi-final which they only lost after a play off, beaten giants of the game such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Sporting Lisbon and Naples, and won the Summer Cup and the Drybrough Cup, they had not won a major trophy for seventy years.

Over 70,000 turned up to watch and the first half was evenly matched, but Hibs totally dominated the second period, taking the lead in the 60th minute when Billy McNeil fouled Alan Gordon on the edge of the penalty box. Alex Edwards and Jimmy O’Rourke stood over the ball as Celtic lined up their defensive wall, and when the referee blew his whistle, Edwards flicked the ball over the wall into space. Hibs skipper Pat Stanton was first to react, smashing the ball into the net past the helpless Williams.

Six minutes later Edwards sent Stanton clear on the right wing before running into the box. As he did so, he pointed to where he wanted the cross to go. Stanton obliged and O’Rourke’s diving header flew into the net, sending the Hibs fans wild.

Hibs should have added a third when Alan Gordon had a shot cleared off the line by McNeil, as Hibs dominated possession, but no Celtic team under Jock Stein ever gave up, and sure enough the Hoops pulled one back with thirteen minutes left when Kenny Dalglish latched onto a through ball before slotting it past Jim Herriot.

Rather than defend their slim advantage, Hibs continued to attack and comfortably saw out the 90 minutes to collect the cup which they showed off on their open topped bus parade through Edinburgh that night.

Hibs right back that day was John Brownlie, and for those Hibs fans who never had the privilege to seeing him play his talent saw him capped for Scotland against Russia as a teenager. In those days it was virtually unheard of for one so young to play for their country, and only Dennis Law had worn the famous dark blue jersey at a younger age. If he were playing in this era, John Brownlie would be valued in the tens of millions of pounds, and arguments would rage as to whether he or Gareth Bale was the better player. His name is still revered at Easter Road and whenever an all-time best Hibs XI is chosen, there is never any debate as to who was the club’s best ever right back.

Unfortunately less than a month after the Hampden triumph, John suffered a broken leg against East Fife in the game following the famous 7-0 win over Hearts. At that time Hibs were top of the league and in the quarter final of the European Cup Winners Cup. Chairman Tom Hart predicted that Hibs would win both competitions, but everyone who was at Easter Road that cold January day realised immediately that without John Brownlie, the dream was as good as over.

John told The Irish News Review “I have a lot of good memories about that particular game. We were all keen to do a lot better than we had in the Scottish Cup Final earlier that year when we lost 6-1 to Celtic.  We all knew that we were better than that and we wanted to do ourselves justice.

“I actually scored the only goal against Rangers in the semi-final, and some of their fans still won’t speak to me because of that.

“I was lucky to play as I went over on my ankle on the Monday before the final, and struggled to get fit. ‘Ned’ (Eddie Turnbull) kept it quiet and on the day of the match I got an injection for the pain. I managed to get through the 90 minutes but it was sore later that night.

“Celtic had a really good team at the time with players like Kenny Dalglish, Davie Hay, Danny Mcgrain, George Connolly and Lou Macari. Ned had us all up for the game telling us it was time to prove the people who had written us off wrong.

“Normally when we played Celtic I was up against Bobby Lennox, but he didn’t play so Jock Stein moved Jimmy Johnstone onto the left wing. I don’t know of word of my ankle injury had got out, but in any case I played well and Johnstone was subbed in the second half.

“It was a great team performance, but it was only when I watched the highlights later that I realised how well Pat Stanton had played. He was immense that day and led from the front, scoring the first goal and setting Jimmy O’Rourke up for the second. Kenny Dalglish pulled one back for Celtic, but we were the better team and deserved to win.

“That was probably the highlight of my time with Hibs, winning a major national competition. I had just turned 20 in the March, and I played with some great players at Easter Road like Pat Stanton, John Blackley, Alex Cropley, Jimmy O’Rourke, Alan Gordon and Alex Edwards. In fact I didn’t realise how good they were until I moved to Newcastle later in my career.

“After the cup win, we beat Ayr United 8-1, then Aberdeen before beating Hearts seven nil at Tynecastle. The following week, we played East Fife at Easter Road and I suffered a broken leg. Alex Edwards got booked that day and received a long suspension, and the team fell away a bit after that.”

John Brownlie spent eight year at Easter Road, playing 211 times and scoring 14 goals. He moved to Newcastle United in 1978 and had spells at Middlesbrough, Hartlepool United, Berwick Rangers and Blyth Spartans. He won 7 caps for Scotland. After retiring, he managed Cowdenbeath, Meadowbank Thistle, East Stirlingshire and Arbroath.

Standing on the Hampden terraces that day was Ted Brack, lifelong Hibs fan and author of several Hibs books, including ‘There is a Bonny Fitba Team,’ ‘The Life and Times of Last Minute Reilly,’ ‘There’s only one Sauzee,’ ‘Pat Stanton’s Hibernian Dream Team’ and ‘The Game on New Year’s Day. Hearts 0 Hibs 7.’

Ted recalls the game vividly and told The Irish News Review “I approached the 1972 League Cup Final with a mixture of anticipation and apprehension.  Hibs had an outstanding team full of genuinely great players and we had beaten Celtic 5-3 in the Drybrough Cup Final four months earlier.  However, Jock Stein’s great team, which was among the very best in Europe at that time had beaten Hibs 6-1 in the Scottish Cup Final the previous May and would be thirsting for revenge after losing five goals to a domestic rival, a possibly unparalleled number of goals to be lost in one game during Stein’s tenure.  Hibs hadn’t won a major national cup competition for 70 years.

“In the event, I needn’t have worried.  Hibs were magnificent and dominated the majority of the game.  Pat Stanton played the game of his life.  He was a man on a mission after the Scottish Cup Final drubbing handed out by Celtic earlier in the year.  Pat knew Hibs were much better than that result suggested and he set out to prove a point.  He certainly succeeded as he scored Hibs first goal, created their second for Jimmy O’Rourke and hit the post as well.

“When Kenny Dalglish pulled a goal back for Celtic near the end, some Hibs teams would have panicked.  Not this one though.  As Alex Cropley told me when I was researching my latest book ‘The Game on New Year’s Day’, ‘We took the game back to Celtic.  We had pace and movement right through our team and that saw us through.  We were like a well-oiled machine that day.’

“As a Hibs supporter that match brought me great joy.  Celtic had players like Billy McNeill, Jimmy Johnstone and Kenny Dalglish in their ranks yet Hibs played them off the park and lifted a national trophy in the process.  It doesn’t get much better.”

This Hibs team that day was: Jim Heriot, John Brownlie, Erich Schaedler, Pat Stanton, Jim Black, John Blackley, Alex Edwards, Jimmy O’Rourke, Alan Gordon, Alex Cropley and Arthur Duncan. The substitute was Johnny Hamilton.

The Celtic team was: Evan Williams, Danny McGrain, Jim Brogan, Pat McCluskey, Billy McNeil, David Hay, Jimmy Johnstone, George Connolly, Kenny Dalglish, Harry Hood and Lou Macari. The substitute was Tommy Callaghan.

Attendance 71,696

Tributes pour in for Hibs and Celtic legend Joe McBride

Scottish football fans are in mourning today following the news that former Hibs and Celtic star Joe McBride has died aged 74 at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Joe was taken to hospital on Saturday, after suffering a stroke, but hopes that he would make a full recovery, were quashed last night when the sad news broke that he had lost his battle.

Joe was signed by Hibs boss Bob Shankly, brother of Liverpool legend Bill, to replace Colin Stein who joined Rangers for a record £100,000 and scored an incredible 58 goals in 91 games.

Former teammate John Brownlie was just a youngster when Joe signed, but knew him well and kept in touch with him. He told Irish News Review: “I was just a kid and Joe was a senior player, but I did manage to play in the same team as him. He was very helpful, and a great talker, as well as a prolific goal scorer. He had a soft spot for the Hibs after he left, and the last time I saw him was at the annual Joe Baker memorial golf day at Wishaw and he looked great. It’s a very sad day.”

Such is his standing at the club; Joe is in the ‘Hero’ category of Jim Jeffrey’s book Hibernian Players and Managers 1946-2009, along with legends such as Joe Baker, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull, Gordon Smith, Pat Stanton and Franck Sauzee.

Jeffrey starts his profile with the words “Joe McBride was simply a wonderful goal scorer, and only Ally McCoist and Willie Wallace in the post war era scored more goals than Joe.”

Author Ted Brack who had written four excellent books on Hibs, including Lawrie Reilly’s and Franck Sauzee’s autobiographies recalled Jos as a prolific goal scorer. He told the Irish News Review: “Joe was a prolific goal scorer. I remember one game in particular against Jock Stein’s Celtic when he scored both in a two nil win. One was an overhead kick which was one of the best goals I’ve seen at Easter Road. Pat Stanton had a great admiration for him as a player and a man. He reckoned that if Joe was one on one with the keeper you could put your mortgage on him scoring. He told me a story about the type of man Joe was. One day there was a bread strike in Glasgow and no-one could buy a loaf. Joe lived through there and had arranged to meet the team bus outside the ground instead of travelling through to Edinburgh first. As Pat was leaving he got a phone call from Joe asking if he could bring him a couple of loaves. Pat agreed, and a few minutes later, the phone rang again and Joe asked if he could get some more. Pat agreed, and Joe asked for 30 loaves. When they turned up at the ground, all Joe neighbours were there to collect their bread, which summed up the type of man he was, always thinking of others. I was very sad when I heard the news of his death. He was a man of many clubs, a man of many goals and a man of many friends”

Since the news of his death, many fans forums have been inundated with messages of sympathy for his family, highlighting the respect in which he was held by supporters of all clubs.

On Hibees Bounce, Haarlem Shuffler poster “One of the most memorable early matches I saw hanging onto a floodlight pylon behind the goals as Joe hammered two fantastic goals past Celtic in a game we were forecast to lose easily. What a player. Rest well man, cheered up my childhood.”

Joe the Hibby posted: “Deepest sympathy to Joe’s family and friends, a well thought of member of the Hibernian family, both as a player and a person.”

A spokesman for Hibs said today: “Our sincere thoughts are with his family at this difficult time, he left a lasting impression on our club and he will always be remembered with great affection.”

Meanwhile Hibs have announced that they will play East Fife at New Bayview Stadium on Saturday 14 July, kick off 2pm.

A large crowd is expected to see the debuts of Tim Clancy and Paul Cairney, along with the return of captain James McPake. New keeper Ben Williams is unlikely to start due to a lack of fitness.

Hibs Legend Des Bremner Hoping For Hampden Success

Hibs legend Des Bremner may be based in the Midlands, but he still keeps an eye on what’s happening at his old club, and hopes to celebrate watching Pat Fenlon’s men achieve something that he was unable to do; win the Scottish Cup at Hampden.

The former Easter Road favourite has taken time out from his busy schedule as managing director of the PFA Finance Division, to speak exclusively to Irish News Review about his fond memories of his time in the capital and his gratitude to former manager Eddie Turnbull for showing faith in him from a young age. He also sends a message of support to everyone connected with the club and hopes to join in the celebration afterwards.

Any footballer on a list which includes George Best and Franck Sauzee has to be special and no-one who saw him play would suggest that Des Bremner did not deserve to be in such exalted company. Only five men, who have worn the famous green and white jersey, have lifted the European Cup, and the modest Bremner is the only one to have started his senior career in Leith.

Eddie Turnbull signed the talented youngster from Highland League side Deveronvale after initially spotting him when he was Aberdeen manager, and clearly felt that Bremner would be one for the future as there were no vacancies in a midfield that included Alex Edwards, Pat Stanton, Alex Cropley and Arthur Duncan. The team which is still revered by the Hibs faithful had won the League Cup and beaten Hearts 7-0 at Tynecastle to go to the top of the league whilst Bremner learned his trade quietly in the reserves.

Unfortunately, during the next game against lowly East Fife, right back John Brownlie suffered a broken leg, and the manager turned to the young Highlander to replace him. Bremner made 11 appearances at right back that season as Hibs finished second, and when Brownlie regained his fitness, he reverted to his preferred position in midfield.

The industrious Bremner won his first and only full cap as a substitute for Kenny Dalglish in Scotland’s 1-0 victory over Switzerland at Hampden in April 1976, but the fact that he only appeared once for his country said more about the selection process than his ability.

Bremner played over 200 times for Hibs in an eight year spell, including a famous night in the UEFA Cup against Leeds when Hibs only lost on penalties against a club generally considered to be one of the best in Europe at the time. He scored 18 goals for the club.

As the decade ended, Hibs reached the Scottish Cup Final against Rangers. The first two games ended in scoreless draws, so it’s not surprising that Bremner does not remember much about the games, but the cup eventually ended up at Ibrox after a five goal thriller when an unfortunate Arthur Duncan own goal in extra time separated the teams.

After the final, Bremner moved to Aston Villa, winning the league championship and then the European Cup against Bayern Munich in the De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam. Villa manager Ron Saunders was quoted at the time as saying that Des Bremner was ‘The most under-rated footballer he ever purchased.’

Bremner made 221 appearances for Villa, scoring ten goals, before making the short move to Birmingham City in 1984 where he stayed for five years. He then played a few games for Fulham and Walsall before ending his playing career with Stafford Rangers.

The former Hibs star told Irish News Review: “I have many fond memories of my time at Easter Road. We had a team that was competing with Rangers and Celtic at that time but not quite making that final step in the league and cup competions. Eddie Turnbull was a great coach and I learned a lot from him in my early years at Hibs which stood me in good stead for the rest of my footballing career.

“The players we had in the team at that time also helped me make the transition into the first team that bit easier even though I was replacing their mate John Brownlie. You could say that one player’s bad break was in my case another player’s good break. I sometimes wonder where my football career would have taken me if I had not been given that opportunity at that time.

“The Cup Final is obviously one of the highlights of my time at Hibs and it is also one of the disappointments as well. I can’t remember too much about the games other than Arthur Duncan’s own goal that lost us the final game, a fine near post header but in the wrong goal.

“I would like to wish everybody involved with the forthcoming Cup Final, the club, the players, all the staff and the supporters the very best of luck on the day. I hope we are all celebrating winning the cup on the day as this would be a great ending to a very disappointing season and give us some encouragement for next season.”

The other European Cup winners to play for Hibs were Ronnie Simpson and Bertie Auld who were both members of the triumphant Lisbon Lions in 1967, George Best who won it with Manchester United the following year and Franck Sauzee who lifted the trophy with Marseille in 1993.

Relegation battle looks like two horse race

Even the most confident Hibs fans have to concede that Saturday’s results make it more and more likely that the relegation battle is now a two horse race between Hibs and Dunfermline.

With two games to go before the split, Hibs face a daunting trip to Inverness before taking on European hopefuls Motherwell at Easter Road, while the Pars face in-form Dundee United at Tannadice then Hearts at East End Park.

Pat Fenlon’s men are currently three points ahead with a superior goal difference. The teams will meet again after the split, and although the fixtures have yet to be announced the game is likely to be played at Easter Road as the clubs have met twice in Fife and once in Leith.

This may not be such good news for Hibs given that they have only won once at home this season whilst Dunfermline have yet to record a victory on their own turf.

In the first meeting, Dunfermline came back from a two goal deficit to gain a draw, whilst the game at Easter Road finished in a single goal victory for the Pars, which resulted in calls for the board to quit and led to the sacking of Colin Calderwood. When Pat Fenlon took his side to East End Park in January, a late Leigh Griffiths goal saw the three points heading back over the River Forth, and most Hibs fans thought that the threat of relegation had gone.

Since then, Dunfermline have sacked manager Jim McIntyre and replaced him with veteran Jim Jefferies, a move that worries Hibs legend Jackie McNamara (snr).

McNamara, who spent nine years at Hibs as a player after arriving in a controversial swap deal with Celtic for Pat Stanton, and then served as assistant manager under Jim Duffy, is a season ticket holder at Easter Road and never misses a home game.

He told the Daily Record: “I don’t hold out a lot of hope. We’ve won just one of our last 21 league games at home, how scary is that?

“Wins over Cowdenbeath, Ayr United and Kilmarnock have taken us to the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup but that has just papered over the cracks and given the fans false hope.

“I was at the Dundee United match on Saturday and this is a team that is totally lacking in confidence. It has been drained out of them. They need to do something quickly if they’re to avoid going down and I don’t know if they’re capable of that.

“Every point is a prisoner and I don’t see any battlers out there. We need someone like John Hughes, who would roll his sleeves up, get stuck in and lead by example.

“Meanwhile, Jim Jefferies will have his players fighting and fired up for every one of the seven remaining games.”

If Hibs do go down to the first division, McNamara insists the blame can be laid at the door of chairman Rod Petrie and his policy of changing managers.

“The one consolation is that we aren’t in as bad a fix as Rangers but that won’t help us if we go down. This is all a result of Petrie’s hiring and firing.

“He appoints a manager, lets him bring in players who aren’t good enough then sacks him and the whole process begins again.

“Not only do we have a squad which isn’t good enough but there’s also no chance for them to gel or play with cohesion.

“There are some good young players being left out at the moment and I only hope that’s being done to protect them.

“We travel to Inverness on Sunday and I fear the worst. Terry Butcher’s team know how to battle but there aren’t any signs that we can.”

Hibs full-back Pa Kujabi however is confident that the team have to skill and attitude to keep them in the SPL.

The Gambian international said: “It was hard for everyone in the team to lose again. We do have character and we want to get out of this situation but sometimes it’s difficult when you go on the pitch.

“I’ve been in this situation once before; when I was with Grazer AK in Austria. But we were only fighting relegation because we had been deducted 10 points after going into administration.

“Some players became lazy as a result but that’s not the case here. At Hibs, we are willing to do more. The guys train hard and give it their best, I don’t know why there’s a problem on the pitch.

“Everyone is frustrated and I’m sure the players and manager will talk. No one wants to be in this position, we want to be somewhere in the middle of the table.

“I’m positive. I believe we can stay in this league but we should not look down all the time. Let’s look up, and prepare to fight week in and week out.”

After Saturday’s battling comeback against St Mirren, Jefferies praised the attitude of his squad. He said: “The players have 100% commitment, desire and will to do it, but there has to be a bit more quality and bit more savvy in some of the things we do.

“We’re a point better off and there’s a lot of games still to play. With two games until the split, we need to hang in there and do what we can. Hopefully, we’ll do it.”

At least there is some good news coming from the Hibs camp, with influential skipper James McPake confident that he will be fit to start on Sunday. The game is being shown live on ESPN with a 3pm kick off.