Irish club Hibs Shek to their titles and championships
Founded by Irish immigrants, Hibs set the trend for Catholic communities in Scotland to create soccer clubs. As a result, the soccer map was filled with such teams as Dundee Harp, Dundee Hibernian (now Dundee United) and Glasgow Celtic. Brother Walfrid, one of the founders of Celtic, regularly invited Hibs to play in Glasgow when Celtic did not yet exist. Thus, the club played against Renton in front of 12,000 spectators. Glasgow was then home to many more Irishmen than Edinburgh. Then Brother Walfrid realized that the club could be of much more use to the local Irish community than visitors from Edinburgh, with all due respect.
Here the fates of Hibs and Celtic begin to intertwine, Celtic club was founded in Glasgow in November 1887, and in May the following year Celtic played their first match. The squad then included quite a few Hibernian players, which, in a sense, set a trend.
John Glass, the financial backbone of Celtic, was the wind of change that indirectly nearly swept Hibs into oblivion. Glass himself came from an Irish family, and together with his brother they were in the construction business. It can be said that this man did a lot for Scottish soccer, embodying the idea of his brother Walfrid. This meek and hardworking man was able to understand in time that once English soccer starts to become on the professional rails, then the same can be repeated in Scotland. Glass gave Celtic players a permanent job at a developing club, something Hibs, alas, could not promise at the time. “Celtic stepped on the path of success, which will continue in these days.
Celtic took the commercial route, while Hibernian saw soccer only through the lens of amateur sport under the control of the church. “Celtic got off to a strong start with the transfer of James Kelly, who had played for the Scottish national team, from Hibernian. Not bad for a newly minted club. It must be said that for Glass, the signing of Kelly was a principled venture, otherwise the team would have fallen into the “No Kelly, no Celtic” position. Glass’s authority allowed Celtic to become part of the Scottish soccer structure, for the other “Irish” clubs there were treated with some disdain. Brother Walfrid also had a lot to do with creating a positive image of the club.
This depleted Hibs, while Celtic took four national championship titles in the 1890s. It became difficult for the Edinburgh club to retain players, and attempts by opponents of professional soccer to persuade Hibernian to move to Glasgow to support the newly formed Glasgow Hibernian failed. This club should be discussed in a separate article, but in brief, the first vice-president of Celtic, James Quillan, wanted to create a club in Glasgow based on the principles of amateur soccer. The results on the field were disappointing, spectators to matches went to several times less than at Celtic and Queens Park, and in the end it became clear that the income from the matches do not cover the costs adequately. Debts sank the club.
Meanwhile, the Hibs of Edinburgh were experiencing times of decline. The club missed the Scottish Football League meeting in 1890, which meant it would not become a member of the League, while other teams from Edinburgh, the Harts and St. Bernards, were among its founding members. The club outside the league found it much harder to find opponents for friendly matches, and the license for Hibernian Park’s home stadium expired. The last star players in captain James McGee and striker Sandy McMahon left for Celtic. “Hibs” practically ceased to exist.
“Hibernian” was revived in 1892, the club being licensed to the grounds that would become Easter Road’s home stadium in the future. Hibs players were no longer required to be members of the Catholic community. On February 4, 1893, Hibernian played its first game at Easter Road. As the 1893-94 season progressed the club did join the Scottish Football League, winning the Second Division championship. However, Hibernian were not allowed to move up to the First Division, and instead they took Clyde, who finished third in the season. Cowleyers finished in second place, but they lost in the vote, and in 1896 the club closed due to financial problems.
The next season Hibs again won the Second Division. That season Edinburgh made a big noise in Scottish soccer: Hearts won the First Division, St Bernards took the Scottish Cup and Hibernian reached the Second Division championship. The First Division clubs supported the decision to include Hibs in the league for the 1895-96 season.
The Hibs finished third in the Premiership and reached the Cup final, where they lost to Hearts. Remarkably, usually the finals were held in Glasgow, but this time the Edinburgh final was to be held in Edinburgh, so it was decided to hold it in this city – at the St. Bernards club stadium. “Harts were stronger (3-1). Next season Harts would become champions, while Hibs would take silver.
In general, this period was successful for Hibs, until 1902 they occupied a place in the top 4, in the same 1902 they took the Scottish Cup, beating Celtic at their own stadium (1-0), and also became champions in 1903. However, further things got worse, Rangers and Celtic began to drag the title of leaders of local soccer on themselves, and in 1931 the Hibs were thrown out of the “top”, but in 1933 they won the Second Division and returned to the elite.
However, the coming decade was not particularly festive: only in the 1937-38 season ranked 10th, in other years the situation in the table for Hibs was even sadder, although in the elite remained. There were 20 teams in the First Division at the time, not 12 as now. In that decade Rangers dominated, taking 6 league titles, 2 went to Celtic, and once even Motherwell won the league, it happened following the 1931/32 season, but so far that title remains the only elite championship for the club (although it will occasionally remind you of itself in the future).
In the future, Scottish soccer still has many interesting stories to tell. For example, Celtic will take as many as 5 trophies in a season. There will be a lot of cool stories to come, but before that mankind had to deal with the most terrible period of modern history – World War II, the elements that changed the face of not only soccer, but the world as a whole. Hibs also had a turning point after that period. But that will be discussed later.