The all-conquering Hearts team of season 1895/96, which won the Scottish Cup, Roseberry Charity Cup, Edinburgh League, and McCrae Cup. This side is regarded as one of the finest ever in Tynecastle history, underlined by their achievements in a remarkable campaign.
The icon of the team was the legendary defender Isaac Begbie but forwards Willie Michael and Johnny Walker also played key roles and contributed hatfuls of goals week after week as Hearts stormed their way around Scotland.
Their cup record stood second to none and their efforts in the 1896 Scottish Cup final ensured the players’ names entered Scottish football folklore. At Logie Green in Edinburgh, in the only Scottish Cup final ever to be played outside Glasgow, Hearts beat their Edinburgh rivals Hibs 3-1 with goals from Davie Baird, Alex King and Michael. The date was March 14, and the crowd is listed as 17,034.
A report of the game ended with the following note: “The cheering which followed this point was something terrific. Hats, sticks, and handkerchiefs were thrown wildly in the air. Soon after the whistle blew, leaving Hearts winners of one of the best games ever seen in a final. The victory, it might be said, was popular in every sense of the word. Those who witnessed the demonstration following upon the third point will not readily forget it. It is satisfactory to note that everything passed off without a single hitch.”
That all-Edinburgh encounter would be the last in the national cup final until, of course, the clubs met in the 2012 final at Hampden when Hearts recorded a famous 5-1 victory.
Strangely, given their cup record, Hearts finished fourth in a ten-team Scottish First Division that season. Celtic were champions ahead of Rangers in second spot and Hibs in third.
The season ended with more silverware, though, as the Roseberry Charity Cup, Edinburgh League, and McCrae Cup were all taken back to Tynecastle. All the trophies are visible in the team photograph. It is worth noting that there was no manager back then as the team was selected by committee, like many other clubs at the time.
• See more great items from Hearts’ history at the club’s museum. For opening times, go to www.heartsfc.co.uk/pages/museum