Hot Goal Time Machine: Hibernian

May 22, 2014

For a description of exactly what this series is about and how the idea was formed then be sure to read the open letter at the top of our opening blog. For the rest we’ll summarise: we’ve asked a blogger from every team in the Scottish top flight to recall their favourite goal from every season since 1998. Now it’s the turn of our very own Tony Anderson to reminisce about his time watching the Edinburgh Hibees. This was much needed therapy for poor Tony after a dismal season watching his team.

98/99 – Barry Laverty. Morton 0-1 Hibs

Unfortunately Hibernian missed out on the inaugural season of the SPL after suffering relegation in the previous campaign. Auld Eckto McLeish swooped in late in a desperate attempt to save the day but Duff Jimmy had already delivered multiple Rock Bottoms, Stone Cold Stunners, Pedigrees and stab wounds to Hibs chances so thus the damage had been done.

Despite a slow start to the First Division season, Hibs found their rhythm and went on to decimate the league that season, scoring 84 goals and collecting 89 points on the way.

In hindsight, its easy to see why, Hibs done some of their greatest transfer business from the period towards the end of the previous season and during the title winning campaign. It started with the lethal forehead and acrobat skills of popular Scottish football figure Mixu Pattelainan and then following that up with Stuart Lovell. Then, incredibly while playing in the First Division Hibs signed two club legends and guys who would go on to grace our top division, Franck Sauzze and Russel Latapy.

My favourite goal this season was a goal by Barry Lavety on the opening day against Morton. It was late on in the game and I was a young boy wondering if this was going to be the future for Hibs, struggling at teams such as Greenock Morton. I have never been more nervous refreshing teletext every two seconds – older fans will understand as a part of life before Twitter and Sky Sports News. Once it went in I went crazy round my house jumping on the couch and doing a sideways forward roll and crashing in to a table, breaking my (Jambo) Dad’s watch. Bonus! Still to this day I have never seen this goal but I was one seriously happy 11 year old!

99/00 – Franck Sauzee. Hearts 0-3 Hibs

Hibs returned to the top flight and finished a very respectable sixth in the league and enjoyed a run to the Scottish semi finals, ended by bottom team Aberdeen, but don’t worry Dons your not going down, its cool, dinnae worry about it!

Hibs played with a lot of verve and creativity and this season was a glimpse of the team excelling themselves in the next campaign. One game stands out above all others and the last Edinburgh Derby of the Millennium at Tynecastle is where its at. Hearts had recently been given the SMG money and Jim Jefferies spunked it on Fitzroy Simpson, Antti Niemi and Gordan Petric to name a mixed bag. Hearts had a good season, finishing third but were humbled by a stunning performance by the Hibees where a Dirk Lehmann goal and late Kenny Miller slot sandwiched a stunning strike by Le God himself. A cross from the left hand side was cut out by a Hearts defender and the ball trundled out the box around 25 yards from goal. Then Sauzee bursts in to screen shot and rifles a ‘low flying jet’ in to the bottom right hand of Niemi’s corner. Merry Christmas!

LINK – http://youtu.be/QeX5kMOgCmk?t=18s

00/01 – Russell Latapy. Hibs 6-2 Hearts

Alex McCleish’s men took their promising start back in the top flight to the next level this time around. Using a lethal concoction of flair, understanding, strength and power within a 3-5-2 formation to finish best of the rest and also move one step closer to that bloody Scottish Cup. The ordinary but reliable duo of Gary Smith and Paul Fenwick were well marshalled and complimented wonderfully and almost sexually by the ever green Franck Sauzzee who had moved back in to the sweeper role within the back three. The industrial and box to box midfield man John O’Neil brought the completion to a midfield three which also had the polar opposite talents of monster Matty Jack and the eloquent, creative, fun loving Latapy. The spine of the team being topped off by brutal number nine Mixu Pattelainan and scorer of special goals David Zitteli. This team enjoyed relative success and Zittelli amongst others scored some incredible goals, namely against Motherwell and Dundee, but my favourite goal must come against Antti Niemi and the Jambos again.

The proverbial cherry on top came from the little magician Russell Latapy as he scored the sixth goal in a 6-2 home whooping of the Gorgie Boys! David Zitelli picked the ball up in the midfield area and was allowed to drive forward and move the ball out right to Latapy. Actually, what’s the point in trying to better perfection, Ian Crocker take it away!

“Russell Latapy, twisting, turning, lovely one – TWOOO! That is absolutely wonderful by Russell Latapy! SIX of the best for Hibs!”

Probably one of my favourite goals of all time for so many reasons.

LINK – http://youtu.be/_gUn9IRZoK0?t=4m41s

01/02 – Paco Luna. Hibs 3-1 AEK Athens (AET)

This season started with so much promise thanks to some impressive results in the first round of fixtures. Hibs had lost some big names like Mixu and Latapy but a huge amount of players came in, including record signing Ulises De la Cruz. Fast forward to December and with Big Eck moving on for a somewhat turbulent spell at Rangers, Hibs lost the playing talents of Franck Sauzzee as he took up the vacant management role. It all went terribly wrong as two months later Sauzzee was sacked after an horrendous run of results, a sad end of a cherished relationship between fan and player. Hibs finished the season with Bobby Williamson, the original carnation of Pat Fenlon. His dour football and desperation not to lose would infuriate many custodians of Easter Road in the coming seasons but Hibs finished 10th, safe and sound for another year.

My favourite goal of a wild season came very early in the campaign and was one of my most memorable nights at Easter Road but which ultimately epitomised everything that followed that night.

The boyos’ were 2-0 down to AEK Athens in the first round of the UEFA Cup after the first leg in Greece. Easter Road was absolutely rocking from start to finish, everyone in the crowd, it seemed, had listened to the Hibs CD and the full Proclaimers album before kick off. Although Paco Luna scored the two goals to level the tie before going out in extra time 4 – 3 on aggregate, his miss in the last minute of normal time for the hat trick is probably better remembered. The roar that followed his equalizer on 82 minutes is as loud as I have witnessed in all my time watching Hibs. I thought the East Stand was going to collapse. John O’Neil lofted a free kick from out wide deep to the back post were Ulrik Laursen nodded back across goal were the star of the show Paco Luna slid in and diverted it low in to the net. Pandemonium.

02/03 – Derek Townsley. Motherwell 0-2 Hibs

A season better off forgetting for the ‘Cabbage and Ribs’ fans as Bobby Williamson’s side finished 7th, never in true danger of going down but with the life being sucked out of the team through cautious, boring football. That entertainment factor the fans were looking for was suggested by Williamson to be found at the local cinema.

A goal that I enjoyed came at Fir Park, which was an experienced enhanced by the free ticket I got from a fellow school pupil who played for Motherwell. He got us all, including himself, complimentary tickets for the HIBS end.

Derek Townsley was a much maligned player at Easter Road but one I held a soft spot for and he scored two goals against his former club whose fans thoroughly abused him from start to finish. Always nice to see a player shut the opposition up quite so thoroughly. Despite the first goal being a quality free kick with some quite hostile celebrations my favourite was a header which sealed the game at 2-0 after 72 minutes. A quick break up the pitch with a whipped ball to the back post met by the original “Deeko” who bulleted a low header down at the keepers near post. He then jumps over the advertising boards in to my exact area of the crowd. All of us celebrate with him, including current Motherwell player. Sound.

03/04 – Stephen Dobbie. Rangers 1-1 Hibs (League Cup semi)

Another yawn fest in the league under Williamson was saved on two counts. An incredible cup run to the CIS final after beating both halves of the Old Firm and the emergence of some incredibly talented young players. Actually make that three counts as Williamson called it quits in April 2004, allowing the club to plan for the forthcoming season.

Unsurprisingly my favourite goal came during the CIS run and surely has to be that chubby chaser himself, Stephen Dobbie, who scored the equalizer against his former club to take us to extra time. Dobbie came of the bench for Hibs midway through, which is a strange thought considering how relatively successful his career has been since this special moment. A hopeful ball was played to the edge of the Rangers penalty area and despite those in blue being favoured to claim the ball, Dobbie somehow managed to wriggle in between the opposition, including Frank De Boer, and slide a neat finish under Stefan Klos in to the near post. The 8,000 hardy Hibees who travelled to Hampden that midweek evening were certainly rewarded as Hibs took the match to penalties, where football legend De Boer missed the decisive penalty.

That was it. Party time! I went off back through to Edinburgh to have a drink in a silly Mexican bar that didn’t care I’m 16! Had I known what was waiting for us in the final I might never have left.

04/05 – Amadou Konte. Motherwell 2-2 Hibs

Quite a landmark season as Mr Infrastructure himself ‘Hot-Rod’ Petrie takes the reigns from Ken Lewandowski in December of 2004. It all started so well Hibees! He assisted Lewandowski on the appointment of Tony Mowbary to get the best out of the batch of talented youngsters currently at the club. Many say he got lucky and it was most certainly the cheap option but this season was everything I was sold as a youngster in terms of what Hibs stood for, even though Mowbary’s team is the only one that lives up to that expectation. Young local players, playing an expansive, attacking brand of football while achieving results. Mowbary brought the dwindling crowds back to Leith and we scored some very special goals.

To find my favourite goal we have to make our way back to Fir Park, where Hibs all but secured European qualification with a 2-2 draw against Motherwell. We were 2 -1 down going in to stoppage time and the joke figure, but soon to be cult hero, Amadou Konte had graced us with his presence from the bench. A scrappy goal in front of a huge travelling support where Konte was literally on his arse and used his leg in what can only be described in a ‘gate closing fashion’ and somehow put the ball in to near post. AAAMAAA- DO – DO – DO!

LINK – http://youtu.be/OY3u-5NHfRY?t=29s

05/06 – Ivan Sproule. Rangers 0-3 Hibs (SPL)

Another exciting season with Mowbary at the helm, which left some bruises by heavy defeats at important stages to a team that shall not be named. Despite those set-backs it is still an incredibly memorable season due to not one but two utter demolition jobs on Rangers in the Teddy Bears’ den. Also under consideration was another victory against Rangers where we won at Easter Road courtesy of a special volley from the instep of Columbia’s favourite customer. Then there was the 7 (SEVEN) 0 victory over Livingston and ending Hearts unbeaten start to the season, but I feel I need to go to Ibrox and the moment that shaped a young Irish man’s career.

We all know the story, Sproule was meant to be going back home after a fight with Guillaume Beuzellin on the training ground (allegedly) but asked for forgiveness and took a seat on the Ibrox bench. He was brought on midway through the second half and not only scored a hat trick but a special one at that! The pick of the bunch for me is actually due to Scott Brown’s incredible lung busting run from box to box. He picks up the ball at the edge of his own penalty area, lofts it over Danish cheetah Peter Lovenkrands and utterly rips him for pace until arriving at the Gers’ box where he plays a neat pass with his left foot on to the oncoming Sproule who drills it from 15 yards across the goalkeeper in to the bottom left corner. Braw!

LINK – http://youtu.be/KKXlgf37iFQ?t=56s

06/07 – Steven Fletcher. Hibs 5-1 Kilmarnock (CIS Cup Final)

This was a season of change for Hibs as Mowbary left for pastures new and John Collins took the reigns. The great team that we’d witnessed over the previous two seasons slowly but surely got broken up but not before a crowning moment for them. It was also in the time where John Collins’ six pack did not send the players running for ‘Daddy’ Petrie. Collins presided over an incredibly emotional day where in the snow, rain and sunshine Hibs defeated Kilmarnock 5-1 at Hampden to lift the CIS cup. There were some top goals in that game, Benji with a couple of solo efforts and a truly iconic goal by captain Rob Jones. My favourite though, due to the sheer quality of the move, was Steven Fletcher’s first goal and Hibs’ third. Fletcher moves the ball to Benji around forty yards from goal in the middle of the park, he plays the ball backwards and slightly wider to Scott Brown who has been watching Fletch continue his third man run and slides the perfect ball through. Fletch runs on to it, takes a couple of touches and drives the ball low in to Combe’s right hand corner. The finish alone was excellent but combined with the move and the occasion made it a truly stunning goal.

LINK – http://youtu.be/XIUWBWChqS0?t=3m22s

Hibs fan or not you should watch the video of Sunshine on Leith sung after the game by the ecstatic Hibees on YouTube, such a beautiful football moment.

07/08 – Dean Shiels. Hibs 3-2 Celtic

Collins got off to a great start this season, culminating in Hibs sitting top of the league after nine games following a now somewhat routine 1-0 win at Ibrox. This was the end of the good times under Collins as after this victory Hibs went on a disgusting run of one win in 14 games, with the sole triumph coming against relegation fodder Gretna. Mixu returned as manager towards the end of that run and managed to get enough results to finish in the top six. The players wouldn’t dare cross the big Finn like they did Collins!

The goal I loved this season was mainly due to circumstances during a topsy turvy 3-2 win over Celtic at Easter Road. Hibs went ahead twice but were pegged back on both occasions. It was a raucous atmosphere at Easter Road and it engulfed Artur Boruc who had an on going battle with the old East Stand. He was getting a lot of abuse after his ridiculous error for Fletcher’s fifth minute goal. He gestured back time and again, eventually culminating in him doing a very camp dance/walk in front of the fans after a Celtic goal. Gary Caldwell also took a fair bit of personal abuse for alleged misdemeanours away from the pitch and around the pom-poms. He also took great pleasure in equalising so the place was basically a circus with fans screaming at players, everyone reacting and goals flying in. The winner was another error from the hapless Pole who, after great hold up play from Antoine Curier (or MAC as he is better known), faced a speculative shot from Merouane Zemmama. Boruc parried the near post shot down and, as he tried to pick it up, put it through his own legs. Shiels was alert, bolted to the near post and pocked it across goal in to the far corner. The place erupted and at full time big Artur couldn’t wait to get off the park, ripping his gloves off and throwing them on the ground. Inevitably a most likely inebriated Hibs fan ran on the pitch and claimed the gloves as a souvenir.

LINK – http://youtu.be/OYu2CI_Tbfg?t=4m18s

08/09 – Derek Riordan. Hamilton 0-1 Hibs

Big Mixu’s style of football while at Hibs was on the whole disliked by the fans. They’d enjoyed a few years of success under managers who insisted on the game being played in a fluent, passing style. This meant Mixu’s direct game would have to yield some results to be universally accepted in the stands. I personally don’t feel he helped himself with the comment “the game is won and lost in each penalty area, not the midfield”. It highlighted a naivety that, in hindsight, maybe shows he was not ready for this job at the time – though he did secure a top six finish playing direct football in a much more pleasing way than the current team. One of the reasons for this was Mixu being able to lure back someone who could put the ball in the back of the net.

On the last day of the transfer window Mixu completed the signing of the prodigal son, Derek Riordan. The fans were understandably delighted to see the two footed, wide player/striker and scorer of many goals, including a bundle of stunning strikes. So in a season of mid table mediocrity the return of one of the SPL’s top goal scorers was a major highlight.

He had made his return coming off the bench in a home win over Dundee Utd but his first goal came a week later as Hibs played their first ever game at New Douglas Park. Steven Fletcher got injured after 37 minutes and had to be replaced, so the supposedly unfit and lacking match practice Riordan peeled of his tracksuit to unveil those pale, bandy legs that somehow produce such power and finesse. On he comes and 50 seconds later he picks up the ball on the left hand side of the pitch, drives in to the box, cuts inside the full back and curls a dipping strike in to the top right hand corner. Utterly typical of the flawed genius from Drylaw.

LINK – http://youtu.be/spQ3ihnxWNU?t=4m59s

09/10 – Anthony Stokes. Hibs 1-4 Rangers

Mixu left to gain the education in management which would set him up for successful roles at Kilmarnock and now Finland and Hibs went down the former player route once again by bringing in the ‘Archbishop of Banterbury’ and the former captain of Leith’s ‘Banter Brigade’, John ‘Yogi’ Hughes. He managed to use his charm to entice Anthony Stokes back to Scotland from Sunderland after Yogi managed him previously during the fruitful spell at Falkirk. Hibs also had the mercurial talents of Merouane Zemmama to call on again after a loan spell the previous season due to teenage wife issues. Hibs started the season on fire, only losing only two of their first 16 games. With the front four of Riordan, Stokes, Zemmama and, eh, Colin Nish all scoring goals some people thought that attacking talent would mean despite other weaknesses they would be able to amount some sort of challenge at the top of the league.

This theory was put to the test as Hibs welcomed Rangers to a packed house at Easter Road. The game kicked off and Zemmama received the ball from kick off and took it for a run, jinking past a couple of players and sliding a beautiful pass through two Gers’ defenders inside the box. The ball arrived at Anthony Stokes who took a touch to get the ball out of his feet and from a very difficult angle found the far post with his instep and it cannoned into the net. This, incredibly, was only 12 seconds in to the game! Although Hibs went on to lose the game 1-4 it was my favourite goal as I am a football fan which, by definition, means I like to dream about unlikely success. This goal allowed Hibs fans, for a small period at least, to believe something special was going to happen this season. Furthermore it was an exceptional goal in its own right.

Obviously being Hibs, we went on to win only another six games the rest of the season. This was despite the fact we won three of the next four following the game against Rangers and that, oh yeah, the match I am talking about took place the day after Boxing Day! Many will also remember the capitulation when 6-2 up at Fir Park. Eventually Yogi’s boys finished 4th and did qualify for Europe but the second half of the season left fans frustrated and despite a relatively good season overall many questioned the possible longevity of Hughes’s reign.

10/11 – John Rankin. Rangers 0-3 Hibs

After another European lesson, this time under Hughes with the team being comfortably beaten over two legs by NK Maribor and fans wondering how Nish started the away leg but both Stokes and Riordan where on the bench. It wasn’t the great start he needed after the ignominious collapse the previous term and Hughes was gone in October. For the next appointment, Petrie tried a new tact by bringing in a manager with no previous link with Hibs. Unfortunately that meant, incredibly, Petrie managed to get this one even more wrong than his previous appointments. He brought in dour, boring and utterly uninterested Colin Calderwood, this I believe was the beginning of where Hibs find themselves today.

Despite Calderwood being awful and seemingly only bothered about money, with no attempt to settle his family or himself in the city, Hibs obviously still won 3-0 at Ibrox this season. This was Calderwood’s first win as boss and the goal that stands out was John Rankin’s effort that made it 2-0. This was actually a good goal, not like the famous ‘squiggler’ which was essentially a goal keeping error. He picked the ball up 30 yards from McGregor’s goal dragged the ball inside one defender, then moved it into a shooting position with the outside of his right boot. Then, from the edge of the box, he curled an excellent strike into the top corner, McGregor didn’t even move. For the three humpings dished out at Ibrox within these years, this was no doubt the most surprising and least stylish but boy did we need some relief this season. 10th place finish.

LINK – http://youtu.be/rBFVuiEJm10?t=22s

11/12 – Eoin Doyle. Hibs 4-0 Dunfermline

This was going to be a long, hard slog with Mr Charisma at the helm for the new season. Petrie, now becoming famous for his misjudgements, rejected £300,000 for Calderwood’s services at Birmingham as assistant manager during the summer. Five months later we were paying him to go! Another search for a new manager brought Pat Fenlon, a man who would preside over some of the most embarrassing results in the clubs history but at the same time try to weed out the culture that had grown within Easter Road over the years. Some people liked Pat, some would say he was a victim of his own success, two Scottish cup finals in a row is impressive but in hindsight it would have been better to lose in the semis both times as it would have saved two heavy defeats and a Euro adventure that would not just embarrass Hibs but the whole country.

We stayed up by the skin of our teeth with Fenlon doing just enough for the team to finish 11th. The fans, as always, backed the team in their hour of need against a resurgent Dunfermline, managed by Jim Jefferies, who if they defeated Hibs the relegation fight would go down to the last day. My favourite goal could only come from this game as a brilliant opening 20 minute performance settled all the nerves and anxieties, and I’ll go for the second one, the goal that made me believe we’d be safe for another year. It was scored by a player who split opinion but always worked hard and scored some important goals in his time at Hibs. This one was a simple dinked cross to the back post where Doyle rose unmarked to put a downward header in the near post. Sheer relief round the stadium. Everyone breathe!

12/13 – Leigh Griffiths. Hibs 4-3 Falkirk

Pat’s first full season at the helm and he did make an improvement in league position, finishing top of the bottom six and with more points than Dundee Utd in sixth. Fans were still not convinced as his cautious football, highlighted by his signing a plethora of defensive midfielders, meant the team won and lost a lot of games by the odd goal. One thing Pat Fenlon most certainly deserves credit for is his man management of Leigh Griffiths, who had no support in the forward position but managed to score an outstanding 28 goals in all competitions.

My favourite, and everyone’s favourite that season, came in extra time in a pulsating semi final win against Falkirk in the Scottish Cup. Hibs found themselves staring deep in to the eyes of defeat as the trailed, fortunately in all honesty, 3-0 at half time. The team were able to take the shackles off that had held them back all season and just go for broke. Doyle scored another hugely important goal, with the equaliser in the 83rd min, which left me flat on my face in celebration. The scene was then set for Hibs talisman and supporter to steal the show.

He had already scored the second goal on the comeback trail but in the 115th minute of the game, Hibs gained a corner. Griffiths lofted it in himself and Hanlon managed to knock it back towards the goal, were former Hibs defender Darren Dods managed to clear the danger. Unfortunately for Falkirk, Griffiths had made his move to the left hand corner of the box, around 25 yards out. He took what look like a tired touch with his right foot but then unleashed the dragon with the outside of his trusty left foot finding the middle right hand corner of the Falkirk net. This confirmed the most unlikely victory for Hibs sending the fans who had stayed in the ground in to raptures and drinks flying everywhere in the pubs round Hampden. Leigh Griffiths, please come back!

LINK – http://youtu.be/G72H7LwNalY?t=7m42s

13/14 – Jason Cummings. Hamilton 0-2 Hibs

The current season saw Pat forced out by those nasty, nasty Hibs fans after a home defeat in the League Cup to Hearts. To be honest the writing was on the wall after another hugely embarrassing result in Europe and another shocking performance masterminded by Fenlon. Hibs 0-7 Malmo. The fans thought it couldn’t get any worse but my god, how wrong they were! El Tel came in and gained some good results at the start of his tenure playing attacking, direct football with wide players crossing in to the box. Mental. This culminated in a new year derby win over Hearts in front of a 20,000 sell out crowd.

Unfortunately then won one game in 19 since that good start. Yes one win in half a season before last night’s game against Hamilton! And yet, it’s amazing what one victory – one immensely important victory – can do for your mood and outlook. Suddenly there’s promise again for the future. Butcher can get rid of all the duds and do a similar job in the transfer market to the one he did at Inverness. Everything can be good again. Well, as long as we don’t **** up the return leg. This being Hibs you never know.

I was going to go for Liam Craig’s goal against Thistle earlier in the season, but there’s no doubt that I have to change it to Cummings’s first last night. There’s not been a better Hibs goal in terms of ability or importance all season.

LINK – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im4AZn-PYVQ

 

Give Tony a follow on twitter, laddie is a guid gadgey likes.

For more on Hibs be sure to read Duncan McKay’s analysis on the performance of every first team member at Easter Road this season.

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