In a performance which will rank with the rest in a long tradition of Tynecastle triumphs, John Hagart’s Hearts grappled with, outfought, and finally routed the men from Leipzig and surged through to the second round of the European Cup-Winners Cup.
A delirious crowd of 18,000 uproariously acclaimed their heroes, who had just wiped out a two-goal deficit from the first leg of the tie by scoring an unbelievable five goals against the Germans’ one to make the aggregate 5-3.
After a first half of joy and despondency in which the target had come within reach only to be made abruptly and depressingly distant once more, the Edinburgh side turned on a superb attacking display and scored three goals.
Jim Brown, Hearts’ captain, was magnificent. He inspired by example and he was supported wonderfully by his colleagues and in particular by the wingers (all three of them) Bobby Prentice, Kenny Aird and Graham Shaw, and by Willie Gibson and Drew Busby.
Only goalkeeper Friese’s left-hand post denied Hearts the sort of start manager Hagart must have been dreaming about. The play was worked down the right by Brown. Gibson, with his back to the German line, smuggled the ball back and across the goal, where Busby and Prentice lurked. Busby took it on the turn, and his bending, right-foot shot came back off the upright with the goalkeeper rooted in the middle of his goal-line. Hearts were developing great drive and, in the 13th minute, they made the breakthrough. With Leipzig backing off, Prentice went past one man, and his pass found Roy Kay moving inside. The back hit it with his right foot, and his shot swung away – low to Friese’s right. The goalkeeper got a hand to it, but could do no more. The ball was in the back of the net and the tie had blazed into life.
The Germans were completely rattled now, and shots from Prentice, Gibson, and then Aird did nothing to soothe them. The game was developing into a non-stop Hearts offensive, space was becoming available, and Aird used it in the 19th minute to race through and force the goalkeeper to parry desperately as his shot sought the roof of the net. In the 28th minute, Hearts squared the issue. Aird again took the ball through the middle, shot, and his grounder was flicked home by Gibson.
The German attacks had been few and far between but nonetheless ominously effective, non more so than when Leisiwicz cut through the Hearts left defence in the 41st minute, squared to Fritzsche, and the man who scored in Leipzig did it again. It was a body blow for Hearts who had to start chasing once more.
Brown showed he was well aware of the need to step up the pace, and tirelessly he drove his men forward. In the end, he did it himself. Hearts’ captain picked up a pass from Shaw and clipped a perfectly flighted ball over the stranded Friese and into the farthest corner of the net. One goal to go. A minute later and they had it, Busby connecting to a Prentice corner causing Tynecastle to erupt. Then, in the 84th minute, what had seemed impossible became inevitable when Gibson materialised on the right and glided home a raking Busby cross.
Hearts: Cruickshank, Brown, Kay, Callachan, Gallacher, Clunie, Aird, Busby, Gibson, Park, Prentice.