Blether: Hibs hosted European cup quarter-final but never entered competition

Raymond Koppa
Raymond Koppa

A good quiz question cropped up recently.

“Which Scottish football club have hosted a European Cup quarter-final but have never played in the competition?”

The most popular answer is Queen’s Park and Hampden, with, perhaps Rangers or Celtic playing there when their grounds were under reconstruction.

But it is wrong.

Now, read on for the answer.

A few weeks ago, Hibs featured in BwB on several fronts.

One was their venture into the ‘new’ European Cup competition in season 1955-56.

Broughty Ferry reader Bruce Ralston was delighted to see it.

He said: “The Hibs story brought back happy memories of my childhood living in Glasgow.

“Hibs were drawn against Djurgardens, of Sweden, in the quarter-finals.

“The first leg should have been played in Stockholm, but, due to the severity of the weather in Sweden, it was switched to Partick Thistle’s Firhill Park.

“The tie was played on November 23, 1955.”

Bruce, well-known in local amateur football as a long-time match secretary of the Midlands AFA until retiring a few years ago, continued: “I’m certain of the game because my father took me along for my 17th birthday.

“The second leg was played at Easter Road the following week.

“I can’t say I really remember much about the game apart from Hibs won 3-1 and the Famous Five – Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond – were playing up front for them.

“Hibs also won the second leg 1-0 to progress to the semi-finals.”

It was an Eddie Turnbull penalty in that second leg which confirmed Hibs reaching the European Cup semi-finals.

There, they met Stade de Rheims in Paris on April 4, 1956.

The French side, which included legendary centre-forward Raymond Kopa and other stars, proved too strong for Hibs and ran out 2-0 winners. Rheims also won the second leg 1-0.

The French side, playing the final at ‘home’ in the Parc de Princes (Paris), lost 4-3 to Real Madrid, despite going 2-0 up after just 10 minutes.