It was a game of which they and Edinburgh can be proud. It was fast; it was entertaining. Some of the moves by both sides were really worthy of the interest evinced in them.
There was a Lawrie Reilly cut through; there was a Bobby Dougan-Jimmy Wardhaugh move and there was a delightful piece of studied play by Gordon Smith which left Dougal Matheson looking like the proverbial carthorse and from which both Eddie Turnbull and Reilly might have profited more than they did.
But everything else was capped by the tremendous shout which greeted the Hearts’ opening goal in eight minutes.
It showed the Hibs’ defence in a sad light as Alfie Conn cut through the backs like lightning, evaded a hesitating Jimmy Kerr and smashed the ball into the net.
After a quarter of an hour the crowd went daft. Reason? A second goal for Hearts.
Hibs’ defence, bewildered and pulverised, made a mess of dealing with a Tommy Sloan raid on the right and centre forward Willie Bauld came up to smash the ball past a helpless goalkeeper.
Those two lightning profitable raids of Hearts had set Hibs a sore puzzle and given the game a tingling tang. Dithering, swithering Hibs steadied.
But the Hearts defence had the answer to everything the Easter Road chaps flung at them. Reilly was quicksilver in the Hibs centre, but his wings were sluggish to respond to his almost inspired lead.
But he had nothing on his opposite number Bauld. This young man was astuteness itself. Twice it needed all the calm experience of Kerr to thwart him.
Bauld, the man who would be “King”, who had only started playing for Hearts in 1948, had already begun forging a partnership with Wardhaugh and Conn that would be nicknamed The Terrible Trio.
Again it was the goalkeeper who stopped a Bobby Flavell shot when the winger connected up with a Bauld pass.
The second half was barely a couple of minutes old before the Hearts unleashed their third thunderbolt. Conn was the man again.
Picking up the ball near the edge of the penalty area, he found himself unmarked and unchallenged and rightly decided to let go with all his might. Kerr did get in the way of the “jet-propelled” ball but the velocity was vicious enough to make it rebound from his body into the net. Three up, it was a rampaging, robust Hearts who sailed in to Hibs’ defence.
Within a minute this bewildered Easter Road combine had yielded a penalty. Flavell took the kick and sent it yards past, but it was a measure of this astonishing game that within another three minutes the winger scored the most brilliant goal of the four notched.
That did not end it. There was no holding Hearts.
As far as those Tynecastle forwards were concerned the Easter Road defence might have been something that had newly emerged from C Division football and the Maroons’ joy was unbounded when Bauld dashed in to smash the fifth past Kerr, who had surely seldom had such an unhappy day.
Hibs’ only answer to this wizardry was a bit of nostalgic sand-dancing by Gordon Smith, which didn’t get him or his side anywhere.
Eventually they did get a crumb of comfort. James Combe, with the whole of the Tynecastle defence apparently transfixed, was allowed to swing the ball calmly past a helpless Jimmy Brown.
But Hearts were dominant and rightly triumphant. It was seldom that they out of touch with Kerr.
A Smith goal eight minutes from time was a wee bit of a face-saver for Hibs. But nothing could take the gloss off this Hearts win.
Hearts: Brown, Parker, Matheseon, Cox, Henderson, Dougan, Sloan, Conn, Bauld, Wardhaugh, Flavell.
Hibs: Kerr, Govan, Shaw, Cairns, Aird, Buchanan, Smith, Combe, Reilly, Turnbull, Ormond.