Hearts in 50 objects: No.24 – Lokomotiv are derailed

Hearts' memento from a memorable night
Hearts' memento from a memorable night
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When it comes to deliberating over Hearts’ greatest-ever result in European competition, you’d be hard-pressed to argue against the home leg versus Lokomotiv Leipzig in 1976.

The commemorative trophy below marks the first-round tie in the old European Cup-Winners Cup where Hearts ran out 2-0 down from the first game in Germany.

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Indeed, the Gorgie side had been lucky in that match, with Leipzig missing a penalty after netting both their goals in the first ten minutes. The return leg at Tynecastle was expected to be a foregone conclusion. How on earth could Hearts overturn a two-goal deficit whilst keeping Leipzig at bay for a further 90 minutes?

The answer is, by the entire Hearts team playing the games of their lives.

With club legends such as Jim Cruickshank, Ralph Callachan, Drew Busby, Willie Gibson and Donald Ford in their ranks, Hearts were no mugs, but even those five stars must have doubted their chances against the powerful German side.

Goals from Roy, Gibson (2), Brown and Busby saw the Jambos record an impressive 5-3 aggregate victory.

Years later, Hearts forward Drew Busby described the scene.

“Everything went right for us that night, everybody was up for it and chasing glory and we got some. It was certainly the best European game of my time at Hearts,” said Busby.

“It was a midweek game under floodlights, the crowd was electric and made for a frightening atmosphere.

“Their stadium was a big open place with a poor atmosphere. Their players came to Tynecastle and were clearly affected by the noise and the tight crowd around the pitch.”

Despite the historic win, it would not be a vintage season for the boys in maroon. A dire league campaign saw them finish ninth and relegated for the first time since the club’s formation.

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