Hearts in 50 objects: No.26 – Wine jug from Inter

The wine jug gifted to Hearts from Inter Milan in 1961
The wine jug gifted to Hearts from Inter Milan in 1961
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Italian giants Inter Milan gifted this stylish wine jug to Hearts when the teams met in the 1961 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. It was the only gift they offered, though, as they systematically destroyed their Scottish opponents with a ruthless display of top-level European football.

Hearts had eliminated the Belgian side Union St Gilloise in the competition’s first round to earn the right to face one of the continent’s most reputable names. The excitement was short-lived as Inter’s Italian masters took control of the tie.

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Inter won 1-0 at Tynecastle on November 6, 1961, in the first leg of the second round with a goal from the Portuguese forward Giorgio Raggi Humberto. The second leg in Milan’s San Siro Stadium was a completely one-sided affair which ended with a comfortable 4-0 home victory.

England international striker Gerry Hitchens scored two of the goals on the night as Hearts realised the difference between them and the cream of the European elite.

In the Tynecastle club’s defence, their all-conquering team of the 1950s had been dismantled and they were still recovering from the loss of legends such as Alex Young, Dave Mackay and Alfie Conn.

The 5-0 aggregate scoreline was a jolt for the Tynecastle support but it was put into perspective in the very next round when Spanish side Valencia sent Inter out of the competition on a 5-3 aggregate. Valencia went on to win the tournament by dint of a crushing 7-3 aggregate victory over Barcelona in the two-legged final.

The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup was a competition set up to promote international trade fairs, hence the name, but it didn’t last long after being set up in 1955. By 1971, it was taken over by UEFA and rebranded as the UEFA Cup.