Footballs weren’t always the bright, jazzy, cushioned sphericals they are nowadays.
This is the battered and bruised match ball from the 1906 Scottish Cup final, in which Hearts beat Third Lanark 1-0 thanks to a goal from George Wilson with just nine minutes remaining.
The final took place at Ibrox Stadium in front of a reported crowd of 30,000. Unusually, the Hearts players wore a blue kit. Third Lanark were in red and that meant Hearts’ traditional maroon strip would have led to a colour clash, so they were forced into a change.
Footballs from that era were heavy, leather objects which were brown in colour.
The leather panels were hand-stitched together and, by look of this one, it dealt with a fair deal of stress before being consigned to storage.
Hearts had the legendary Bobby Walker in their team that day, April 28, 1906, and were captained by Charlie Thomson. Those two were seen at the front of the club’s brake carriage as it returned to Edinburgh with the Scottish Cup.
Thomson held the trophy aloft as the streets became crammed with people cheering and celebrating the success, whilst Walker held the silver cover. The match ball was also brought back to the Capital and is still one of many items cherished from Hearts’ history.
Hearts finished second to Celtic in the league that season but knocked them out on their way to Scottish Cup success. They eliminated Nithsdale Wanderers by a 4-1 scoreline in the first round before a 3-0 victory over Beith in the next round.
They met Celtic in the quarter-final at Parkhead and won 2-1 despite falling 1-0 behind after half an hour. A 2-0 triumph over Port Glasgow Athletic in the semi-final took them through to meet Third Lanark in the season’s showpiece match.
Hearts further demonstrated their fondness for cup competitions that year by winning the East of Scotland Cup and East of Scotland Shield. At the time, they were regarded as the equal of Celtic and Rangers as their team contained several Scottish internationalists and players who played for the Scottish League Select team.
• See more great items from Hearts’ history at the club’s museum. For opening times, go to www.heartsfc.co.uk/pages/museum