Hearts in 50 objects: No.12 – Trophy from ‘Borders derby’

The trophy has been looked after by Hearts
The trophy has been looked after by Hearts
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Edinburgh’s two largest football clubs are fierce rivals on and off the pitch and have been for decades. Although they always endeavour to outdo one another in competition, their rivalry was not always as staunch as it is in the modern era.

Back in the 1930s, Hearts and Hibs joined forces to help promote football in the Borders area of Scotland. This impressive gesture saw them send teams down to Galashiels for an exhibition game on Wednesday, September 8, 1937.

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The clubs took time out from their busy Scottish First Division schedule just a few weeks into the campaign to head to the Borders town for a friendly which ended in a 3-3 draw. It was intended as a benefit match for local football clubs in the area, which were striving to increase the sport’s popularity amongst children and adults alike.

The Borders has long been regarded as Scotland’s rugby stronghold and there have been many attempts to promote football over the years. The success has been mixed, although the presence of Hearts and Hibs at that time would have had notable effect.

The trophy pictured was produced to mark the occasion and is inscribed as such. Hearts’ goalscorers on the night were centre-forward Bill Walsh, who struck twice, and Welsh left-winger Freddie Warren. Finding the net for Hibs were James Harrison and a Mr Newman – who scored a double but whose first name is not known.

Hearts had a strong team at the time and would go on to finish second in the Scottish league that season, just three points behind champions Celtic. Hibs came in tenth in what was then a top flight of 20.

The trophy was kept inside a vault at Tynecastle before the old main stand began being demolished. It has been kept in good condition and maintained by the Hearts historians down through the years.

It is one of the less-popular trophies which the maroon half of Edinburgh have kept in storage, but in the middle of the 1930s it represented the growing popularity of football across the country.

Taking it to the Borders was seen as the chance to install football as the dominant sport in the area at a time when many were still growing accustomed to the sport.

• See more great items from Hearts’ history at the club’s museum. For opening times, go to www.heartsfc.co.uk/pages/museum