TERRACE passageways were filled as at least 100,000 fans attended Ibrox for this Scottish Cup second-round tie.
Rangers took the lead within four minutes. Willie Waddell was the chief contributor, crossing perfectly to Billy Simpson. The centre’s first try came back to him off Jock Paterson, and with the second Tommy Younger was beaten with a low shot from six yards into the corner.
With 20 minutes gone, one felt Hibs were steadying. The forwards began to combine, and Lawrie Reilly and Gordon Smith to desert their positions.
Still, the Rangers defence maintained a cool and most competent outlook. WillieWoodburn was always to be found in the precise place. It was fascinating football.
Despite all the Hibernian cleverness, danger lurked in the Rangers attacks, even if they were disposed to be occasional. Ian McColl and Waddell combined neatly, and when the cross was cleared out Woodburn had a go from 40 yards.
Hibs persisted and Bobby Johnstone, after fine play by Reilly and Eddie Turnbull, came near the mark. His shot was diverted past for a corner.
The little inside-right went even nearer when he darted past Woodburn and got his head on a Smith cross. The ball scraped the bar and it was not like Willie Ormond at all when, after beating Corky Young, he slashed the ball past the post.
Five minutes from the interval, Ormond made amends. He got the ball from Smith and returned it so adroitly to the advancing winger that Smith was in ideal position to drive home the equalising goal from 12 yards. It was a perfect goal in every way, and for once the Rangers’ defence was bamboozled.
On play the goal was thoroughly deserved, and now Hibs began to turn on some of their greatness, although only a superb save by Younger kept out Willie Thornton.
Rangers regained the lead three minutes into the second half. Willie Paton trailed the ball past Jock Govan, cut in, and shot low across the goal. Simpson stuck in his feet and the ball whirled away high into the net past a bewildered Younger.
This was blood-tingling football. Rangers played with more confidence than at any time. It was all out football with Rangers more likely looking scorers.
Fifteen minutes from the end, with Rangers’ defence wilting under enormous strain, Turnbull shot a great equaliser from Ormond’s cross. Turnbull let the ball rip from the corner of the penalty area and the ball flashed clean into the net crashing the stanchion. A really wonderful effort.
Johnstone put Hibs in the lead for the first time three minutes from the end. The wee chap wheeled round after Turnbull found Ormond with a free-kick and drove a wonderfully placed shot clean past Bobby Brown from 12 yards.
There can have been few more thrilling spectacles than this. It was a tremendous tie in every way, packed with clever play and altogether worthy of the two teams.
If Hibs were well ahead in forward excellence the Rangers defence was again smashing, although the strain began to tell towards the end.
Hibs finished stronger and fresher and right to the end they played beautiful football. They were far and away the masters, with no stars. They were a team, and a great one at that.
Hibs: Younger, Govan, Ogilvie, Buchanan, Paterson, Gallacher, Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull, Ormond.