HAMPDEN Park might be the home of Scottish football these days, but 116 years ago the sport’s national showpiece came to Edinburgh.
And it was quite fitting as the showdown saw Hearts meet Hibs in the only Scottish Cup final ever to take place outside of Glasgow.
But now calls have been made to erect a permanent reminder at the site of the 1896 clash. Scottish football historians, along with prominent supporters of both clubs, today said a memorial would be fitting.
Logie Green, in Powderhall, was the scene of Hearts’ 3-1 win over their arch city rivals – in what remains the only Scottish Cup final meeting of the Capital clubs.
That could change this season with both sides due to play separate semi-finals this weekend.
However, today there is no sign of the historic match ever having taken place, the ground – also once home to then-reigning cup holders St Bernards – having succumbed to development.
Although the Logie Green Road street name remains, the stadium, which also hosted Leith Athletic, was paved over to create a car park for the Powderhall athletics and greyhound stadium, before that, too, disappeared from the map.
Richard McBrearty, curator at the Scottish Football Museum based at Hampden Park, said the 1896 final and Logie Green were worthy of a physical memorial.
“It is a historic venue and it should be remembered,” he said. “In other fields, such as the arts, people and locations are lauded and rightly so.
“Football is such a big part of Scotland’s life, but in terms of signage there’s very little.
“It doesn’t have to be £50,000 statues, but Edinburgh in particular made such a contribution to world football.
“Logie Green is one of the sites that is part of the rich tapestry of Edinburgh and Scotland’s football history.
“There are people and places that do deserve to have some kind of memorial, and that is something that the museum is taking an interest in.”
Fans of both sides have joined forces to back the calls prior to this weekend’s semi-finals. On Saturday, Hibs will play Aberdeen at Hampden, before Hearts take on Celtic at the same venue 24 hours later.
Tom Wright, Hibs’ official club historian, said the Logie Green site deserved to be celebrated.
“We are going to bring this up,” he said. “What happened there should be recorded. I think people in Edinburgh do know about it, but the fact that it was the only cup final to be played outside of Glasgow means more should be made of it.”
Steven Kilgour, general secretary of the Federation of Hearts Supporters Clubs, said that a move to erect a permanent memorial would be popular with fans.
“I think it would be nice to have a commemoration there,” he said. “It has a special meaning for Hearts supporters and is part of Scottish football history.”
At the match, which was played on March 14, 1896, 16,034 fans turned out and were accommodated comfortably.
Hearts opened the scoring after just three minutes and never looked back. The goal came from the penalty spot, after a handball, with Davie Baird finding the net.
Despite the best efforts of Hibs talisman ‘Darlin’ Willie Groves, Hibs were unable to break down an in-form defence.
Midway through the second half Alex King made it 2-0 from a tight angle and when Willie Michael headed home Hearts’ third, the trophy was heading for Tynecastle.
A late goal from James O’Neill was a mere consolation for a well-beaten and dispirited Hibs.