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wallowing in the history of hibernian fc

Celtic link denied as Collins move looms

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Celtic 3-1 Hibs, April 16 1989 – Scottish Cup semi-final

semi160489progThe bare statistics of this semi depict a comfortable victory for Celtic, and that’s the truth. So superior were they, in fact, that most of us were dreading from a pretty early point in the game a repeat of the 1980 semi-final scoreline (5-0, as the programme’s ‘Moments to Remember’ unpleasantly reminded us – even the ancient Bobby Lennox scored against us that day, and there was nothing George Best could do about it). Tommy McIntyre, played out of position at full back by Alex Miller, was given a thorough roasting by Joe Miller, whose crosses led to the first two Celtic goals and countless other opportunities. Archibald scored what is known as a consolation goal in the second half, but it didn’t make us feel any better, really.

The Day Before

The date of this match (a Sunday) will not be remembered as often as the Saturday which preceded it. April 15 1989 was the day of the Hillsborough disaster. The news of that tragedy was still sinking in to all of us as we observed a respectful minute’s silence on the Hampden terraces.

The previous day I had been in Dundee with some Hearts supporting friends, enjoying the spectacle of another Dens Park defeat for the Jam Tarts. At half time we heard that the Liverpool-Forest tie had been abandoned because of ‘crowd trouble’ and that there had been fatalities. Left to draw our own conclusions we muttered sadly about ‘the English disease’ and how much longer the hooligan crisis could be tolerated and what could be done. It wasn’t until after the game and in the pub that the awful truth became apparent and that our assumptions had been completely wrong.

As the full details emerged over the next few days and the finger of blame was pointed at the policing of the game we could sympathise all too well with the unfortunate Liverpool fans. Plenty of times before we had all been caught in crushes in ill designed exits, but came away unhurt and thought little more of it.

fencePlenty of times however I had watched the police officers at matches, especially in England, standing facing the field of play, enjoying the game. On April 22 1989 The Independent published this picture of young kids at a football match to accompany an article on the Hillsborough disaster. What immediately struck me was not the children’s faces poking through the bars like prisoners, but the policeman sitting inside the fence. Just what exactly was he being paid to do, I asked.

Football clubs were being asked to pay ever increasing sums for the policing of games, when more often it seemed as though they were simply paying to admit a few hundred extra spectators wearing uniforms. The police were supposed to be there to prevent trouble and spot hooligans, but how could they do that when they spent most of the afternoon watching the action on the field?

This practice amazingly persisted for some time after Hillsborough, but is now fortunately a thing of the past, along with perimeter fences and large scale disturbances inside grounds.


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Hibs 1-1 Celtic, 28 September 1991

celtic280991progThe thing I most remember about this match is that it was a sell-out, and since I’d come up from Cambridge at fairly short notice I was reduced to buying a ticket in the street – for the Celtic end! Ugh!

Sitting in the away enclosure under the old West Stand, I politely clapped when Celtic took a first half lead and had to sit on my hands and bite my tongue when Hibs equalised later. Please, never again.

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Where are they now?

That’s easy – now playing in the Hibs midfield.

No, hang on – that Michael Stewart is a lifelong Hearts fan and had just realised his life’s ambition to play for Hearts after a season on loan at Tynecastle from Manchester United when Tony Mowbray signed him. And he was born in … er, 1981. Well, at any rate he looks nothing like that freckly wee boy does he?stewart

Oh hell, will the real Michael Stewart please stand up!

After those naughty boys at Mass Hibsteria had doctored the date of birth on my cutting there was much chortling on the message board at Hibs.net and the Bounce, and much indignant protestation on Kickback. A football memorabilia shop on Gorgie Road reportedly dug out their copy of this programme and displayed the offending page in their shop window.

Then, all the way from holiday in Florida, above and beyond etc, the real Michael Stewart – the one above that is – finally did stand up with a message to Hibs.net.

Michael Stewart the younger grew up to be an actor – many of you will have seen him in the gritty Edinburgh gangster drama Looking After Jojo alongside Robert Carlyle – and knows the other Michael Stewart well having played football with him for Tall Oaks. Michael the younger can confirm that Michael the elder is indeed ‘a rooting tooting Jambo (until he signed for us)’.

Michael the younger insists it should have been him who was the famous footballer – he now plays for Leith Athletic. I am also pleased to report that he still loves sausages and beans.

Where are they now 2

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I don’t know if Mike is still running Tamson’s Bar – probably not – but if anyone knows where he is now, or if there are any hot young Gambian players whose lifelong ambition is to play for Hibs, let me know.