Fresh meat! Dead meat!!
For the first time in about nine years (!) I have finally scanned some new press cuttings and can present to you, my loyal readers, previously unpublished material!
I would say ‘can present to you with pleasure‘ except there is very little pleasure to be had from the memories invoked by this new batch of newsprint. First cab off the rank just happens to represent season 1997-98 which, until Terry Butcher got his hands on the reins in 2013, was just about the worst season in Hibs’ history. Although we had been relegated twice before, the absolute horror show of Hibs’ fall from the top of the table in September to the very bottom before New Year was mesmerisingly awful. Truly Hibs were like a rabbit caught in the headlights, going 15 games without a win and clocking up a seven game losing streak.
Jim Duffy is the main villain of this piece, ably supported by the Hibs board who first appointed him and then let him linger for so long that Alex McLeish’s rescue mission was made virtually impossible. Poor old Billy McNeill was dragged out of semi-retirement to try and help Duffy turn it round but he was gone within a month as the team continued to gaze hypnotised at the oncoming truck.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of highlights here: Chic Charnley’s moment of glory, lashing a 20-yard winner past his bhoyhood heroes Celtic on the season’s opening day; and the defeat of Hearts in April, effectively ending their title challenge. Even if it did us no good in the end it made us feel better for a few days. Small consolation in a season that made us feel rank rotten for many months.