the hibLOG

wallowing in the history of hibernian fc

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All new hibLOG!

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 I have finally scanned some new press cuttings and can present to you, my loyal readers, previously unpublished material!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.

Season 1997-98 index


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13 months of misery, 3 February 1998



A rather unfair change of tune from The Scotsman’s subeditor, I feel, describing the whole of Jim Duffy’s tenure as unremitting misery. Where now the ‘spirit of the Seventies’ and Chic Charnley’s joie de vivre at the season’s outset? August and September had been far from miserable and it was probably going on November before people began to realise something had gone horribly wrong. ‘Eleven months of misery with two months of fun in the middle’ doesn’t make much of a headline though. That’s journalism for you. Continue reading

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Hibs 1-2 Raith Rovers, Scottish Cup, 24 January 1998

raith240198_1Coming only a couple of days after Billy McNeill’s arrival at Easter Road this game could hardly have been expected to provide any evidence of positive influence. What it did demonstrate however, was the utter hopelessness of Hibs’ situation. Although the continuation of our long estrangement from the Scottish Cup had no direct effect on our league survival campaign, losing at home to first division Raith could only have been a further hammer blow to our already shattered team confidence. Continue reading

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Duffy: I could not cope any more without McNeill, 23 January 1998


Rather than take decisive action in the face of the crisis which had engulfed the club, the Hibs board chose to try remedial measures, hoping that the hugely experienced McNeill would take pressure off Duffy, clearly labouring under the ‘promising young manager’ tag.

In retrospect the move only postponed the inevitable for another couple of weeks. Continue reading

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Hibs 2-1 Celtic, 3 August 1997


The season started in the brightest of fashions. Although the conclusion to the previous campaign had been worrying, with Duffy managing only three wins out of the 16 league matches under his charge, it was charitably assumed that the close season preparation and some new recruits would see a different Hibs emerge. Continue reading

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Hibs 0-4 Dundee, 15 August 1987

dundee150887progClassic Hibs behaviour here – beat the league champions in midweek then collapse at home to relegation fodder. Jocky Scott’s Dundee came without the suspended Jim Duffy and disposed of Hibs within the first half. Two goals from Tommy Coyne (one a penalty) and one apiece from Keith Wright and John Brown left Hibs staring at humiliation before the interval, and it could have been worse but for goal line clearances and profligate finishing. Truly an awful experience.

Programme notes

The Hibs programme was voted fourth best in Scotland after the Old Firm and Dundee Utd for the 86-87 season. The shoddy Hearts effort was beaten into tenth place by the likes of Hamilton Accies, Clyde and Clydebank. Quite right too.