Season 1999-2000 was a season much like this one (2017-18), our first back in the Premier League after a spell in the First. The priority, as Alex McLeish said in his end of season summary, was to consolidate our position, and with a mid-table finish achieved by a squad whose core had come through the promotion campaign, it was mission accomplished. Continue reading
This was only Hibs’ fourth victory of the season, out of seven games including two League Cup ties. In other words we had won three out of five league games, losing to Hearts at home and drawing at Tannadice. Dundee Utd knocked us out of the League Cup three days following that draw, but nevertheless our tally of wins had us sitting top of the league. Continue reading
Hearts were without a manager on this occasion, Wallace Mercer having recently sacked Alex MacDonald. Joe Jordan was being lined up to replace him, but if Hearts were still leaderless off the park it was Hibs who were leaderless on it.
Mercer was interviewed by The Scotsman on the eve of this match, defending his decision not to attend Easter Road for the first time since his takeover bid, despite having said the previous weekend that he would be the first one off the Hearts bus, shaking everyone’s hand. Hugh Keevins asked Mercer about the suggestion that his sudden sacking of MacDonald was the work of an egomaniac. ‘I do not suffer from egomania,’ replied Mercer. ‘If I did I would not be allowed access to £100 million in my business life. I would not have been the youngest Scot, appointed by the Secretary of State, to join the Scottish Business Group. Egomaniacs do not get bankrolled by the Bank of Scotland either. I take the strongest exception to that charge, and those that call me an egomaniac are guilty of jealousy and envy.’
Hmm. The prosecution rests, m’Lud…
Anyway, on the pitch it was business as usual, and a pitch invasion held up play for 10 minutes after Pat McGinlay’s own goal.
I only know the score from this match from looking it up. St Johnstone were newly promoted to the Premier league for the first time since 1984 and were making the most of it, riding high in fourth place, three points ahead of Celtic. Managed by Alex Totten and Bert Paton, the Saints were short on household names – Sergei Baltacha and future Jambo Allan Moore being the exceptions.
With only nine goals from 17 starts it was obvious where Hibs’ problems lay. A round up of recent press comments in the programme rubbed it in. ‘It is a painful truism in football that no goals means no victories. The Edinburgh team have perfected this particular art,’ observed The Observer. The Sunday Times added: ‘One is tempted to suggest they should stick to what they are best at – preventing the opposition from scoring.’ Still hadn’t perfected that particular art though…
Pat McGinlay tries not to look too embarrassed to be picking up Augustus Barnett’s Player of the Month treat of a bottle of Asti Spumante. Just reward for his contribution to our ‘sparkling’ record of three draws and one defeat during November. Do we detect a hint of jealousy in Brian Hamilton’s gaze however? If looks could kill he would have been locked up years ago.
Elsewhere, Micky Weir informed us that he got his hair cut in Hayes at Cannonmills by Karen, his most recent clothing purchase was a pair of McKenzie jeans from Ricci, and that the last record he bought was ‘Fear of the Dark Planet’ by Public Enemy. Respec’ wee man.
1955 and all that
On a more serious note the programme also recalled the 1954/55 season. Not a good one for Hibs as it turned out. Not only did we lose 1-5 to Hearts at Tynecastle in the league and 0-5 to them in the Cup, but Bobby Johnstone left for Manchester City, thus breaking up the Famous Five. Johnstone went on to become the first and so far only player to score in two successive FA Cup finals.
Although Hearts had been languishing on the same points as Hibs before this match, the only truly remarkable thing about the result is that John Robertson didn’t get on the scoresheet. Even Hibs solitary effort (only their tenth in 19 matches) was an own goal by Gary Mackay. Results elsewhere left Hibs bottom of the league.
Now, about that league reconstruction idea…