Hibs in 50 objects: No.22: O’Rourke’s Drybrough Cup tankard

Winning players received this tankard
Winning players received this tankard
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The Drybrough Cup was held between 1971 and 1974 before being revived again at the end of the decade.

At the time, the SFA would not allow existing competitions to have a title sponsor so Drybrough Brewery got round it by inventing the tournament bearing their name.

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It was open to the four highest-scoring teams from the First and Second Divisions and it was played in the week preceding the start of the league season. The clubs were seeded to keep the top-flight teams apart and the competition consisted of three rounds, a first round, a semi-final and final.

Each entrant was guaranteed £1000, a tidy sum in those days for some clubs, out of the £25,000 pot put up by the sponsors.

In the years 1972-74, an experimental offside rule was in operation, the 18-yard line extended to the touchlines with the rule only applied within that area.

Hibs were to win it twice, defeating Celtic 5-3 in the 1972 final and 1-0 the following July, both victories coming after extra-time and each attracting a crowd of almost 50,000.

Those triumphs lead to a seemingly improbable hat-trick of cup successes against the Glasgow club with the Easter Road outfit having lifted the League Cup in the intervening season.

There were some who weren’t keen on the competition, quick to say it was “only the Drybrough Cup”. Hibs boss Eddie Turnbull confessed to being among that number but he admitted he changed his mind after his side’s first victory, saying: “I knew we had started something the fans would enjoy.

“The proof of that was the big crowd which came to applaud the cup winners when we played West Bromwich Albion in a friendly the following Tuesday.”

Appropriately enough for a cup sponsored by a brewery, the players were presented with tankards, this one given to Jimmy O’Rourke after Alan Gordon’s goal had defeated Celtic in the final of July 1973.

• For information on Easter Road Stadium Tours, contact bmcgoldrick@hibernianfc.co.uk