Hibs thoroughly deserved their 2-0 win over former Inter-City Fairs Cup winners Valencia in the first leg of the preliminary round staged at Easter Road.
Indeed, they were somewhat fortunate not to have scored a further two goals. Only in flashes did the Spanish team show the form of which they are capable, and were content to play a retreating game which spoiled the match as a spectacle for the uncommitted in a crowd of 19,000.
If for nothing else, the game was memorable for a brilliant display of old-fashioned inside-forwward play by Sanchez-Lage, a balding thick-set player in the mould of the artist of old. He could juggle the ball at will, turn on a sixpence , make defence-splitting passes, and still contrive to be an integral part of Valencia’s defensive system.
Hibs got off to the best of starts when, in four minutes, Jim Scott scored. John Baxter’s lob into the middle caught Zamora and Mestre in two minds. Scott rose high above the defence and steered the ball with his head into the corner of the net.
Thereafter, Hibs held the initiative and were unfortunate not to add to their lead. They were thwarted by the astute marking of the solidly -built Spanish defenders by over-eagerness, and of the brilliance in goal of the deceptive and casual Zamora.
It was only in the final minute of the game when Valencia had thrown caution to the wind that, from a free kick taken by Peter Cormack, John McNamee headed through on the goal-line and increased the Edinburgh club’s chances of success in the second leg.
Hibs manager Bob Shankly said: “Valencia are a good side and it’s worth remembering Tottenham scraped home 2-1 against them in Malaga thanks to a last-minute goal. Those late counters must be worrying the Spaniards.”
Five weeks later, in the Estadio Mestalla, Hibs were beaten 2-0, prompting a third game, again in Spain and three weeks later, which Hibs lost 3-0.
Hibs: Wilson, Simpson, Davie, Stanton, McNamee, Baxter, Cormack, Quinn, Scott, Martin, Stevenson