Hibee History: Joe Baker impresses semi-final win over Rangers

Rangers inside forward Ralph Brand heads towards the Hibs goal at Hampden Park
Rangers inside forward Ralph Brand heads towards the Hibs goal at Hampden Park
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Hibs qualified to meet Clyde in the final of the Scottish Cup when they beat Rangers in their replayed semi-final tie at Hampden Park.

There may have been games more notable for distinguished football but surely none in which excitement was more sustained or which ended on such a controversial note.

With only two minutes remaining for play, Rangers, who had pressed almost continuously after the interval for the equalising goal which would have been no more than their due, had the ball in the net – only to have the score disallowed.

Ian McColl swept the ball into the goalmouth and in the ensuing scramble Max Murray bodied it past Lawrie Leslie. In response to an appeal from Hibs, the referee consulted a linesman and thereafter awarded a free kick to the Edinburgh side, apparently on the grounds that Leslie had been impeded in his effort to clutch the ball.

The decision was unfortunate for Rangers, who, however, had mainly themselves to blame for their defeat. Masters in the outfield for most of the game, the Ibrox forwards, apart from Davie Wilson, played like novices in the goal area, where their finishing was slipshod and occasionally just reckless.

Man for man Hibs were much more dangerous in attack, where none excelled Andy Aitken in ball control and the quick thrust at goal. He and Tommy Preston were more profitable players than Rangers’ inside forwards, Jimmy Millar and Ralph Brand, who for all their cleverness on the ball lacked drive at close quarters.

Joe Baker, at centre-forward for Hibs, was much livelier than in the previous game and Willie Telfer consequently had to cover more ground in keeping his youthful opponent in check.

Hibs too, were sound at half back, where the captain, Eddie Turnbull, directed his forces wisely and well.

Hibernian opened the scoring after 18 minutes’ play. Leslie cleared from the penalty area and as the ball was caught in the wind McColl failed to connect properly with it. The ball spun off his head to Telfer, whose back-header towards Billy Ritchie was well out of his reach at an angle to the goal. Baker and Ritchie reached the ball simultaneously and when the centre forward fell the referee awarded a penalty kick which Turnbull scored.

Soon afterwards at the other end John Grant brought down Brand in a tackle and when Rangers’ appeal for a penalty kick was rejected Sam Baird showed dissent, for which he had his name taken.

Six minutes after the interval John Fraser scored Hibs’ second goal. Again Telfer misheaded and this time Aitken gained possession of the ball. His shot was blocked but the outside right from the rebound sent the ball past Ritchie.

Five minutes later Brand was sandwiched by Jock Paterson and Baxter and from the resultant penalty kick Baird scored.

Thereafter the question was – would Rangers equalise? They might have done so if they had gone about their task with the coolness of the older heads in the Hibs team, notably Paterson.

The nearest Rangers came to scoring was when shots from Millar and Brand squirmed out of Leslie’s hands: on each occasion, however, the goalkeeper was given time to recover.

Hibs: Leslie, Grant, McClelland, Turnbull, Paterson, Baxter, Fraser, Aitken, Baker, Preston, Ormond