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Hibernian F.C

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Hibernian F.C

This article is about the Scottish football club. For the Maltese football club, see Hibernians F.C..

Team badge
Full name Hibernian Football Club
Nickname(s) Hibs[1]
The Cabbage[2]
Founded 1875
Ground Easter Road,
Leith, Edinburgh
Ground Capacity 20,421
Owner Sir Tom Farmer
Chairman Rod Petrie
Manager Jimmy Nicholl (Caretaker)
League Scottish Premiership
2012–13 Scottish Premier League, 7th
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Hibernian Football Club (/hɨˈbɜrniən/) (often known as Hibs) is a Scottish professional football club based in Leith in the north of Edinburgh. It is one of two Scottish Premiership clubs in the city, the other being their Edinburgh derby rivals Hearts. Hibernian was founded in 1875 by Irish immigrants,[3] but support for the club is now based on geography rather than ethnicity or religion.[4][5][6][7] The Irish heritage of Hibernian is still reflected, however, in its name, colours and badge.[3]

The name of the club is usually shortened to Hibs.[1] The team are also called The Hibees[1] (pronounced /ˈhbz/ ) and The Cabbage,[2] a shortening of the rhyming slang for Hibs of "Cabbage and Ribs", by fans of the club, who are themselves also known as Hibbies. Home matches are played at the Easter Road stadium, in use since 1893,[8] when the club joined the Scottish Football League.[9] Hibernian have played in the Scottish Premier League since 1999, one year after the breakaway league was founded.[10][11]

Hibernian have won the Scottish league championship four times, most recently in 1952. Three of those four championships were won between 1948 and 1952, when the club had the services of The Famous Five, a notable forward line.[12] The club have won the Scottish Cup twice, in 1887 and 1902; but have lost ten Scottish Cup Finals since, most recently in 2013.[13][14][15][16][17] The last major trophy won by the club was the 2007 Scottish League Cup, when Kilmarnock were beaten 5–1 in the final.[18] It was the third time Hibs had won the League Cup, also winning in 1972 and 1991.


Foundation and early history

The club were founded in 1875 by Irishmen from the Cowgate area of Edinburgh. The name is derived from Hibernia, the Roman name for Ireland.[3] James Connolly, the famous Irish Republican leader, was a Hibs fan,[19][20] while the club were "closely identified" with the Irish Home Rule Movement during the 1880s.[9] There was some sectarian resistance initially to an Irish club participating in Scottish football, but Hibs established themselves as a force in Scottish football in the 1880s.[3][9][19] Hibs were the first club from the east coast of Scotland to win a major trophy, the 1887 Scottish Cup. They went on to defeat Preston North End, who had won the 1887 FA Cup, in a friendly match described as the Association Football Championship of the World Decider.[21][22][23]

Mismanagement over the next few years led to the club becoming homeless and it ceased operating during 1891.[9] A reformed club was established and they acquired a lease on a site in late 1892 that was to become known as Easter Road. Hibernian played its first match at Easter Road on 4 February 1893.[24] Despite this interruption, the club today views the period since 1875 as one continued history and therefore counts the honours won between 1875 and 1891, including the 1887 Scottish Cup.[25][26] The club were admitted to the Scottish Football League in 1893, although they had to win the Second Division twice before being elected into the First Division in 1895.[9]

A significant change at the time of this reconstitution was that players were no longer required to be members of the Catholic Young Men's Society.[19][27] Hibs are not seen today as being an Irish or Roman Catholic institution, as it was in the early years of its history.[4][5] For instance, the Irish harp was only re-introduced to the club badge when it was last re-designed in 2000. This design reflects the three pillars of the club's identity: Ireland, Edinburgh (the castle) and Leith (the ship). Geography rather than religion is now seen as the primary reason for supporting Hibs,[6][7] who draw most of their support from the north and east of Edinburgh.[6][7][28]

Hibs had some success after being reformed, winning the 1902 Scottish Cup and their first league championship a year later. After this, however, the club endured a long barren spell. The club lost its placing in the league, and were relegated for the first time in 1931, although they were promoted back to the top division two years later. The notorious Scottish Cup drought[13] began as they reached three cup finals, two in consecutive years, but lost each of them.

The Famous Five

Hibs' most successful era by far, was in the decade following the end of the Second World War, when it was "among the foremost clubs in Britain".[12] The forward line of Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond, collectively known as the Famous Five, is "regarded as the finest ever seen in Scottish football".[12] The quality of the Famous Five is shown by the fact that all five players scored more than 100 goals for the club,[12] with the north stand at Easter Road now named in their honour.

Of the five, only Ormond cost Hibs a transfer fee, £1200 from Stenhousemuir.[29] Reilly, Johnstone, Smith and Turnbull were all signed from youth or junior leagues.[12][30] The first time Hibs used all five in the same team was on 21 April 1949, in a friendly match against Nithsdale Wanderers.[30] The forward line remained in place until 1955, when Johnstone was sold to Manchester City.[12] The great forward line, together with players like Bobby Combe and Tommy Younger, largely contributed to the winning of league championships in 1948, 1951 and 1952.[12][30] The team were perhaps unfortunate not to win more trophies, as they finished second to Rangers in 1953 on goal average, and second to Rangers by a point in 1950.[12]

First British club in Europe

Despite only finishing fifth in the Scottish League in 1955, Hibs were invited to participate in the first season of the European Cup, which was not strictly based on league positions at that time.[31] Eighteen clubs who were thought would generate interest across Europe and who also had the floodlights necessary to play games at night, were invited to participate.[31] Floodlights had been used at Easter Road for the first time in a friendly match against Hearts on 18 October 1954.[32] Hibs became the first British club in Europe because the Football League secretary Alan Hardaker persuaded Chelsea, the English champions, not to enter.[33]

Hibs played their first tie against Rot-Weiss Essen, winning 4–0 in the Georg-Melches-Stadion[31] and drawing 1–1 at Easter Road. They defeated Djurgårdens IF to reach the semi-final,[31] but in that tie they were defeated 3–0 on aggregate by Stade Reims,[31] who had the famous France international player Raymond Kopa in their side.[31] Reims lost 4–3 to Real Madrid in the Final.[31]

Turnbull's Tornadoes

Hibs frequently participated in the Fairs Cup during the 1960s, famously winning ties against Barcelona[34] and Napoli.[35] However, the club achieved little domestically until former player Eddie Turnbull was persuaded to return to Easter Road as manager in 1971. The team, popularly known as Turnbull's Tornadoes, finished second in the league in 1974 and 1975, and won the League Cup in 1972. The club also won the Drybrough Cup in 1972 and 1973,[36] and recorded a 7–0 win over Edinburgh derby rivals Hearts, at Tynecastle on 1 January 1973.

Performances went into decline after the mid-1970s, as Hibs were replaced by the New Firm of Aberdeen and Dundee United as the main challengers to the Old Firm. Turnbull resigned as manager and Hibs were relegated, for the second time in their history, in 1980. They were immediately promoted back to the Scottish Premier Division in 1981, but the club struggled during the 1980s, failing to qualify for European competition until 1989.[36]

Attempted takeover bid by Hearts

After mismanagement during the late 1980s, Hibs were on the brink of financial ruin in 1990.[37] Wallace Mercer, the chairman of Hearts, proposed a merger of the two clubs,[37] but the Hibs fans believed that the proposal was more like a hostile takeover.[38] They formed the Hands off Hibs group to campaign for the continued existence of the club.[38] This succeeded when a prominent local businessman, Kwik-Fit owner Sir Tom Farmer, acquired a controlling interest in Hibs.[39] The fans were able to persuade Farmer to take control despite the fact that he had no great interest in football.[39] Farmer was persuaded in part by the fact that a relative of his had been involved in the rescue of Hibs from financial ruin in the early 1890s.[24] After the attempted takeover by Mercer, Hibs had a few good years in the early 1990s, winning the 1991 Scottish League Cup Final and finishing in the top five in the league in 1993, 1994 and 1995.

Recent history

Soon after Alex McLeish was appointed as manager in 1998, Hibs were relegated to the First Division,[40] but immediately won promotion back to the SPL in 1999.[11] Hibs enjoyed a good season in 2000–01, as they challenged the Old Firm until Christmas, eventually finishing third in the league. Hibs also reached the Scottish Cup Final for the first time in 22 years, but lost 3–0 to Celtic at Hampden Park.[15] McLeish departed for Rangers in December 2001;[41] team captain Franck Sauzée was appointed as the new manager, despite the fact that he had no previous coaching experience.[42] A disastrous run of form followed, which was dragging Hibs into a relegation battle by the time he was sacked in February 2002.[43][44] Sauzée had been manager for just 69 days.[43][44]

Kilmarnock manager Bobby Williamson was then hired, but he proved to be unpopular with Hibs supporters.[45] However, a string of exciting young players emerged, including Garry O’Connor, Derek Riordan, Kevin Thomson and Scott Brown. These players featured heavily as Hibs eliminated both halves of the Old Firm to reach the 2004 Scottish League Cup Final, only to lose 2–0 to Livingston.[45] Williamson departed near the end of that season to manage Plymouth Argyle and was replaced by Tony Mowbray.[45][46] Mowbray promised fast-flowing, passing football,[46] with which Hibs finished third in his first season as manager, while Mowbray won the SFWA Manager of the Year award.[47]

Mowbray left Hibs in October 2006 to manage West Bromwich Albion,[48] and was replaced by former player John Collins.[49] The team won the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final under his management,[18] but the club sold Kevin Thomson, Scott Brown and Steven Whittaker for fees totalling more than £8 million.[50] Collins resigned later that year, frustrated by the lack of funds made available to sign new players.[50] Former Hibs player Mixu Paatelainen was hired to replace Collins,[51] but he left after the end of his first full season.[52]

Another former Hibernian player, John Hughes, was soon appointed in place of Paatelainen.[53] Hughes, who made high profile signings such as Anthony Stokes[54] and Liam Miller,[55] led Hibs to a good start to the 2009–10 season.[56] "Unacceptable" performances in the early part of 2010 included a Scottish Cup defeat by Ross County.[57] A 6–6 draw with Motherwell, in which Hibs had led 6–2 midway through the second half, broke the record for most goals scored in a SPL match.[58] A win on the final day meant that Hibs finished fourth and qualified for the Europa League.[59] A poor start to the following season, including first round exits in Europe and the League Cup, led to Hughes leaving the club by mutual consent.[60] Hughes was replaced by Colin Calderwood, who was himself sacked on 6 November 2011.[61]

Pat Fenlon was appointed to replace Calderwood.[62] The club avoided relegation in 2011–12 and reached the 2012 Scottish Cup Final, but this was lost 5–1 to Hearts.[16] Fenlon largely rebuilt the team after this defeat.[62] This resulted in an improved league position in 2012–13 and reaching the 2013 Scottish Cup Final, but this was lost 3–0 to league champions Celtic.[17] Losing the cup final to the league champions meant that Hibs qualified for the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League, but Hibs suffered a Scottish record defeat in European competition, losing 7–0 at home and 9–0 on aggregate against Malmo.[63]

Colours and badge

The predominant club colours are green and white, which have been used since the formation of the club in 1875.[64] The strip typically has a green body, white sleeves and a white collar.[64] The shorts are normally white, although green has been used in recent seasons.[64] The socks are green, usually with some white detail.[64] Hibs have used yellow, purple, black, white and a dark green in recent seasons for their alternate kits.[65] In 1977, Hibs became the first club in Scotland to bear sponsorship on their shirts.[66] This arrangement prompted television companies to threaten a boycott of Hibs games if they used the sponsored kit, which resulted in the club using an alternate kit for the first time.[64][67]

Hibs wore green and white hooped shirts during the 1870s,[64] which was the inspiration for the style later adopted by Celtic.[68] Hibs then wore all-green shirts from 1879 until 1938, when white sleeves were added to the shirts.[64] This was similar in style to Arsenal, who had added white sleeves to their red shirts earlier in the 1930s.[69] The colour of the shorts was changed to a green which matched the shirts in 2004, to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of a friendly win in October 1964 against Real Madrid.[70] Hibs had worn green shorts in that match to avoid a colour clash with the all-white colours of Real Madrid. Hibs have worn green shorts in three seasons since the 2004–05 season.[64] For the 2012–13 season, Hibs changed the primary colour of the shirts to a darker "bottle" green, instead of the normal emerald green.[71] A darker green had been used until the 1930s.[71]

The badge used to identify the club has changed frequently over the years, which has reflected an ongoing debate about its identity. This debate has centred on whether its Irish heritage should be proudly displayed, or ignored for fear of being accused of sectarianism.[19] The Irish harp was first removed in the 1950s, then re-introduced to the club badge when it was last re-designed in 2000.[19] Scottish Football Museum director Ged O'Brien said in 2001, that the current design shows that Hibs "are comfortable with all the strands of their tradition – it has Leith, Edinburgh and Ireland in it."[19]


Main articles: Easter Road and Hibernian Park

Hibs played on The Meadows for the first two years of their history,[72] before moving to grounds in Newington (Mayfield Park)[72] and Bonnington Road, Leith (Powderhall),[73] in different spells between 1877 and 1879. After the lease on Mayfield Park expired, Hibs moved to a ground known as Hibernian Park,[74] on what is now Bothwell Street in Leith. Hibs failed to secure the ground lease and a builder started constructing houses on the site in 1890.[75] Hibs obtained a lease on a site that is now known as Easter Road in 1892 and have played their home matches there since February 1893.[76]

Before the Taylor Report demanded that the stadium be all-seated, Easter Road had vast banks of terracing on three sides, which meant that it could hold crowds in excess of 60,000.[77] The record attendance of 65,860, which is also a record for a football match played in Edinburgh,[78] was set by an Edinburgh derby played on 2 January 1950.[77][79] Such vast crowds were drawn by the success of the Famous Five.[79]

The pitch was noted for its pronounced slope, but this was removed in 2000.[79][80] The ground is currently all-seated and has a capacity of 20,421.[81] Easter Road is a modern stadium, with all four of its stands having been built since 1995.[79] The most recent redevelopment was the construction of a new East Stand in 2010.[79]

Scotland have played five internationals at Easter Road, all of them since 1998. The most recent international match played at the ground was a friendly between Scotland and Australia in August 2012.[82] The ground has hosted one international not involving Scotland, a friendly played between Ghana and South Korea preceding the 2006 FIFA World Cup.[83] Easter Road has also sometimes been used as a neutral venue for Scottish League Cup semi-final matches.[84][85][86][87]


Main article: Edinburgh derby

Hibs have a traditional local rivalry in Edinburgh with Hearts; the Edinburgh derby match between the two clubs is one of the oldest rivalries in world football.[88] Graham Spiers has described it as "one of the jewels of the Scottish game".[7] The clubs first met on Christmas Day 1875, when Hearts won 1–0, in the first match ever contested by Hibs. The two clubs became preeminent in Edinburgh after a five-game struggle for the Edinburgh Football Association Cup in 1878, which Hearts finally won with a 3–2 victory after four successive draws.[89] The clubs have met each other in two Scottish Cup Finals, in 1896 and 2012, both of which were won by Hearts.[90] The 1896 match is also notable for being the only Scottish Cup Final to be played outside of Glasgow.[90]

Both clubs have been champions of Scotland four times, although Hearts have won more cup competitions and have the better record in derbies, with 273 wins to 198 in 615 matches.[91] Approximately half of all derbies have been played in local competitions and friendlies.[91] Hibs recorded the biggest derby win in a competitive match when they won 7–0 at Tynecastle on New Year's Day 1973.[91]

While it has been noted that religious background lies behind the rivalry, that aspect is "muted" and is a "pale reflection" of the sectarianism in Glasgow.[92][93][94] Although the clubs are inescapable rivals, the rivalry is mainly "good-natured" and has had beneficial effects.[95]

Supporters and culture

Hibernian are one of only two professional football clubs in Edinburgh, which is the capital of and second largest city in Scotland.[96] The club had the third largest average attendance in the Scottish Premier League during the 2012–13 season, with 10,489.[97] In the period after the Second World War, Hibs attracted average attendances in excess of 20,000, peaking at 31,567 in the 1951–52 season.[98] Since Easter Road was redeveloped into an all-seater stadium in the mid-1990s, average attendance has varied between a high of 14,488 in 2006–07 and a low of 9,150 in 2003–04.[98] In the 1980s and 1990s, a minority of the club's supporters had a reputation as one of Britain's most prominent casuals groups, known as the Capital City Service.[99]


The works of author Irvine Welsh, particularly Trainspotting, contain several references to Hibernian.[100] The team is often mentioned in casual conversation and is the team many of his characters support.[101] Visual references to Hibs are noticeable in Danny Boyle's film adaptation of Trainspotting;[102] Begbie wears a Hibs shirt while he plays five-a-side football, while many Hibs posters and pictures can be seen on the walls of Mark Renton's bedroom.

In the final short story of the trilogy The Acid House, Coco Bryce, a boy from the "Hibs firm" Capital City Service, is struck by lightning while under the influence of LSD in a Pilton park. His soul is then transferred to the body of an unborn child from one of the more affluent areas of Edinburgh.[103]

Hibernian are also frequently referred to in the Inspector Rebus series of detective novels by Ian Rankin. Rebus himself is a Raith Rovers fan in the books, but he is a Hibs fan in the 2000s television adaptation of the series.[104][105] Ironically, that version of Rebus is played by a Hearts supporter, Ken Stott.[105] DS Siobhan Clarke, his colleague in the later books, is a "loyal supporter" of Hibs.[106]


The Hibs anthem Glory, Glory to the Hibees was written and performed by Scottish comedian Hector Nicol.[107] Former Marillion singer Fish is a Hibs fan;[108] Easter Road is mentioned in the song 'Lucky', from the album Internal Exile. The Proclaimers are lifelong Hibs fans, and were heavily involved with the "Hands off Hibs" campaign to save the club in 1990.[38] The title track from their Sunshine on Leith album has become a Hibs anthem,[109] which is traditionally played before big matches at Easter Road and after the victory in the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final.[110] In their song "Cap in Hand", also from the Sunshine on Leith album, The Proclaimers sing:

The song Joyful Kilmarnock Blues, from the first album released by The Proclaimers, is about a Hibs victory away from home.[38] The song includes the following lyrics:

Ownership and finances

Although the football club was formed in 1875, it was not incorporated until 1903.[note 1] The club remained a private company until 1988, when it was publicly listed on the London Stock Exchange.[111][112] This public listing, combined with poor financial performance, made Hibs vulnerable to an attempted takeover in 1990 by Hearts chairman Wallace Mercer.[112][113][114] This attempt was averted when Mercer was unable to acquire the 75% shareholding needed to liquidate the company.[112][114]

The club's parent company, Forth Investments plc, entered receivership in 1991.[36][115] Sir Tom Farmer acquired control of the club from the receiver for £3 million.[39][115] Farmer has continued to fund developments of Easter Road and financial losses made by Hibs, although he has delegated control to other figures, such as Rod Petrie.[39][115][116][117] The club is now 98% owned by its holding company, H.F.C. Holdings Limited.[118][note 2] This holding company is beneficially owned by Farmer (90%) and Petrie (10%).[115][118]

Current squad and staff

First-team squad

As of 22:55, 12 September 2013 (UTC)[119][120]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Ben Williams (vice-captain)
2 Republic of Ireland DF Tim Clancy
3 Northern Ireland DF Ryan McGivern
4 Scotland DF Paul Hanlon
5 England DF Michael Nelson
6 Northern Ireland DF James McPake (captain)
7 Scotland MF Alex Harris
8 Scotland MF Scott Robertson
9 England FW Rowan Vine
10 Scotland MF Liam Craig
11 Scotland MF Paul Cairney
14 Republic of Ireland FW James Collins
16 Scotland MF Lewis Stevenson
17 Wales MF Owain Tudur Jones
No. Position Player
18 Republic of Ireland DF Alan Maybury
19 Scotland FW Danny Handling
20 England MF Tom Taiwo
21 Scotland GK Sean Murdoch
22 Scotland DF Fraser Mullen
23 Scotland DF Jordon Forster
24 Republic of Ireland FW Paul Heffernan
26 Scotland MF Sam Stanton
27 France MF Abdellah Zoubir (on loan from Istres)
29 Scotland FW Ross Caldwell
34 Scotland MF Dean Horribine
35 Scotland FW Jason Cummings
38 Scotland MF Kevin Thomson

On loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Scotland GK Paul Grant (at Berwick Rangers until January 2014)[121]
Scotland DF Callum Booth (at Raith Rovers until May 2014)[122]
No. Position Player
England DF Bradley Donaldson (at Arbroath until January 2014)[123]
Scotland MF David Gold (at Queen's Park until December 2013)[124]

Coaching staff

Position Staff
Caretaker Manager Jimmy Nicholl
Goalkeeping Coach Scott Thomson
Development Coach Alan Maybury
Football Development Manager Dave Henderson
Head Physiotherapist David Henderson
Senior Physiotherapist Kitty Mackinnon
Head of Youth Development Bill Hendry
Head of Academy Coaching James McDonaugh

Source: [125]

Board of directors

Chairman Rod Petrie
Director/Club Secretary Garry O'Hagan
Finance Director Jamie Marwick
Director Bruce Langham
Director Amanda Jones
Director Brian Houston

Source: [126]

Noted players

For a list of all Hibernian players with a World Heritage Encyclopedia article, see Category:Hibernian F.C. players.

Arthur Duncan holds the record for most league appearances for Hibs, with 446.[25] All of the Famous FiveGordon Smith, Eddie Turnbull, Lawrie Reilly, Bobby Johnstone and Willie Ormond — scored more than 100 league goals for Hibs.[12]

Hibernian players have been capped at full international level for 18 different national teams, with 59 Hibernian players appearing for Scotland.[127] Hibernian rank fifth amongst all clubs in providing players for Scotland, behind the Old Firm, Queen's Park and Hearts.[128] James Lundie and James McGhee were the first Hibs players to play for Scotland, in an 1886 British Home Championship match against Wales.[129] Lawrie Reilly holds the record for most international caps earned while a Hibs player, making 38 appearances for Scotland between 1949 and 1957.[129] In 1959, Joe Baker became the first player to play for England without having previously played for an English club.[129]

To mark the club's 135th birthday, the club created a Hall of Fame in 2010.[130] The first group of nominees, including thirteen former players, were inducted at a dinner later that year.[130][131]

Noted managers

Hibs did not officially appoint a manager until 1903 because they were not incorporated until then. From 1875 until 1903, the club were run by a committee,[132] although Dan McMichael, who also acted as treasurer, secretary and a physiotherapist, was effectively the manager when the club won the 1902 Scottish Cup and the 1903 league championship.[133]

Willie McCartney took charge of part of the league-winning 1947–48 season, but he collapsed and died after a Scottish Cup match in January 1948.[30][134] Hugh Shaw inherited that team, and went on to win three league championships in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Eddie Turnbull, Alex Miller and John Collins all won one Scottish League Cup each. Bobby Templeton, Bertie Auld and Alex McLeish all won second tier championships.


Major honours

Minor honours

  • Summer Cup[26]
    • Winners (2): 1942, 1964

UEFA ranking

As of 4 May 2013[135]
Rank Country Team Points
265 Sweden BK Häcken 4.125
266 Iceland FH Hafnarfjördur 4.083
267 Scotland Hibernian 4.038
268 Scotland Aberdeen 4.038
269 Moldova FC Dacia Chisinau 4.033
270 Azerbaijan FC Baku 3.958
271 Estonia FC Levadia Tallinn 3.941


Single game
  • Biggest victory: 22–1 vs Black Watch Highlanders, 3 September 1881[25]
  • Biggest competitive victory: 15–1 vs Peebles Rovers, 11 February 1961[25]
  • Biggest league victory: 11–1 vs Airdrie, 24 October 1959 and vs Hamilton, 6 November 1965[25]
  • Biggest defeat: 0–10 vs Rangers, 24 December 1898[25]
Caps and appearances




External links

  • – Hibs statistical website
  • Hibernian on Club statistics
  • The Scotsman

Scotland portal

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