PETROL-bomb thugs targeted two popular pubs owned by Paul Kane just minutes apart in what detectives believe was an orchestrated campaign against the Hibs legend.
Emergency services raced to the The Four in Hand Bar on Easter Road and The Tor in Restalrig Road in the early hours of Sunday after attempts were made to set them both ablaze.
Detectives believe both incidents - just 15 minutes apart - are linked but have not publicly identified any possible motive.
Former Easter Road favourite Kane, 53, a successful businessman since hanging up his boots, was in London on business at the time and was told of the arson attempts by worried staff.
It is understood he is due back in the Capital today and will meet later with Police Scotland officers investigating the attacks.
Both pubs were empty at the time and the blazes were swiftly extinguished. The Four in the Hand was sealed-off with police tape while experts combed it for clues.
Officers would not confirm details of the attack but social media users speculated that the bars had been ‘petrol bombed’.
One witness posted: “Four in Hand and The Tor both taped off and police there. Petrol bombed.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “I see the Four in Hand got petrol bombed last night. Everyone’s home insurance rates around it just went up.”
Ex-midfielder Kane later confirmed to the Evening News that his businesses had been attacked.
It is understood he was informed that windows were smashed before containers of flammable liquid where thrown in and torched.
Vandals previously targeted the Four in the Hand in 2009, weeks after Kane took it over, smashing windows and damaging masonry before daubing it with blue paint.
The pub is a favourite haunt of Hibs fans and has been frequented by Pat Stanton and Jimmy O’’Rourke and The Proclaimers.
It was previously owned by businessman Kenny McLean Jr, whose father and namesake, a former Hibs vice-chairman, played a leading role in the fight to stop Wallace Mercer buying the club in the 1990s. Mr McLean sold the pub, along with the rest of his Brackens Inns chain, to Caledonian Heritable in 2006.
The company stayed true to its pledge to maintain it as a Hibs pub and Kane restored its long-standing association with the club.
A Police Scotland spokesman last night said: “Police in Edinburgh are investigation following two deliberate fires in the north of the city.
“The first incident happened at around 3.40am on Sunday the 27th January at a premises on Easter Road.
“The second incident happened at around 3.55am on Sunday 27th January at a premises on Restalrig Road.
“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended and extinguished the flames. No one was injured as a result.
“A joint investigation is ongoing with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and officers are treating both incidents as linked.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that firefighters had attended both incidents.