Maroon Memories: Tommy Walker’s Hearts thrash Hibs

John Cumming
John Cumming
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AFTER Hibs lost their Famous Five and Hearts saw the break-up of the team that brought so many honours in the 1950s, this was a transition period in the Capital.

And, after this display, Hearts boss Tommy Walker could afford the luxury of sitting back and thinking that he was at least more than halfway towards bringing back the glory days.

Hat-trick hero Danny Paton. Picture courtesy Hearts FC

Hat-trick hero Danny Paton. Picture courtesy Hearts FC

And so it proved, with Hearts clinching the League Cup just a month later.

This dramatic result saw Danny Paton net a hat-trick, the last time the feat would be achieved against the Easter Road side until Mark de Vries struck in August 2002. John Cumming had opened the scoing.

Hibs could neither match Hearts individually in quickness of action, nor in spirit. There seemed to be a lack of flair about the whole Hibs team.

Hearts, on the other hand, fought for every break going and, when they came, they were taken in irrepressible style.

Hibs lacked fire in the wing-half positions, and got little help from their attack. When Tommy Preston and John Baxter got possession they were made to look slow for the simple reason not one of the forwards stepped back out of formation to try and force a midfield link. The half-backs were then forced to take the cross-field route and the through ball was seldom seen. Ineffective daintiness had taken the place of precision.

Before the kick-off there was a great deal of speculation that after ten years of winning at Easter Road the law of averages would count against Hearts. But “paper speculation” is of no use unless a team is prepared to go flat out to help its own cause.

Hearts’ winning departments were the ones in which Hibs were weakest – wing half and inside forward Cumming – who went on to become a trainer for the club and sadly passed away in December 2008 – and Billy Higgins, put a lock on Gerry Baker and John Byrne that stopped nearly all Hibs’ raids.

Baker, just before half-time, appeared to be amazed that he had so much room to work in, that he scoffed at the most open chance of the day when Gordon Marshall was out of play and the goal wide open.

Hibs might, with the slope in their favour, have saved the day had Baker taken that chance...but then it’s goals that count not “ifs and buts”.

The season before, Hearts could not find an inside man. This term Tommy Walker had Paton and Willie Hamilton who looked like becoming something of a headache for opposition defenders.

In midfield they blended together and were always trying to find the extra spaces to aid Higgins and Cumming.

On the ball they both had the beating of their men and Joe Davin and Joe McClelland were kept working overtime as Hearts’ wing men were kept furnished with a regular supply of the ball.

It was just as well that Jim Easton was right on his game for the centre-half was asked to work “time and a half” trying to stop the floodtide of maroon jerseys.

Paton, especially, was a tireless worker. His three goals were taken in excellent fashion – the second after putting Ronnie Simpson the wrong way on a dummy.

Willie Hamilton, like Bobby Johnstone and Alex Young, was fortunate in having an inside partner who was prepared to share some of the load.

But Hamilton’s touches on the ball were sheer finesse. It was heartening to see an Edinburgh inside man change the angle of attack with a beautiful switch of play.

Hibs: Ronny Simpson, Joe Davin, Joe McClelland, Tommy Preston, Jim Easton, John Baxter, Morris Stevenson, Gerry Baker, John Fraser, John Byrne, Eric Stevenson

Hearts: Gordon Marshall, Willie Polland, Davie Holt, John Cumming, Roy Barry, Billy Higgins, Willie Wallace, Danny Paton, Norrie Davidson, Willie Hamilton, Johnny Hamilton