Hibs won a thriller and lost Des Bremner with a suspected collar bone break at Easter Road.
Eddie Turnbull’s men, two down, fought back to turn round with a 3-2 lead. Once skipper Pat Stanton had increased their advantage fans breathed easy and Jimmy O’Rourke added another. Kilmarnock’s Jim McSherrey was ordered off in the second half after he and Alex Edwards had been booked earlier.
Hibs should have scored in their first attack when Eric Schaedler collected a pass from O’Rourke and centred to Alan Gordon, who seemed to have an easy job to head the ball past goalkeeper Jim Stewart. But it only brushed his forehead and dropped wide of the target. If that was an escape for the Ayrshire men, Hibs had one at the other end. After the referee had lectured Jim Black and Edwards for attempting to pull down Gordon Smith, the left winger won a corner which he lofted into the middle of the goalmouth and Morrison got no power into his side-footed effort.
The pitch was extremely soft and a strong wind was proving a problem already to both sides. Kilmarnock had not come with any defensive complex and their four forwards caused Hibs some worry before Stewart kept his team level with a magnificent save from Stanton. With 13 minutes gone, Kilmarnock ripped into the lead. A mix-up involving Bremner and Arthur Duncan enabled full-back Robertson to dash down the left and his cross was headed home by Eddie Morrison.
Five minutes later Killie struck again and Hibs were in big trouble, facing a two-goal deficit. Again the defence looked far from convincing as Morrison beat Jim McArthur with another header from a cross by Cook. Hibs needed a goal in double quick time and they scored in only 20 minutes. A Duncan cross was headed out to Edwards on the 18-yard line and he first-timed the ball past Stewart – his first goal of the season for Hibs and it couldn’t have been more welcome. Duncan might have grabbed the equaliser in this tremendous tie but his shot went over the bar.
Kilmarnock’s double shock had set Hibs quite a task and the fans were enjoying an absolutely all-action contest. Bremner had injured his shoulder as Kilmarnock scored their second goal and Bobby Smith came on as substitute right-back while Bremner was led inside with his arm in a sling. Stanton was spoken to after a clash with Robertson who needed treatment as Hibs poured on the power in a bid for the equaliser.
Then, just after Gordon had missed a possible chance, Hibs drew level in 37 minutes. Edwards chipped the ball in form the right and O’Rourke headed into the net.
Just on the stroke of half-time Hibs surged into the lead – O’Rourke and Gordon shoved the ball out to Alex Cropley whose header was blocked but only as far as John Blackley and his low drive from 20 yards skimmed into the net. No wonder there was a huge ovation for the teams as they left the field.
Hibs went straight on to the attack and they collected their fourth on the hour. Stanton took a pass from O’Rourke, bored in on goal and clipped a rising shot over the head of Stewart who was yards off his line. Hibs could enjoy themselves with the game wrapped up. Killie had lost their fight. They were totally over-run and, O’Rourke scored a fifth goal from a Cropley pass in the last minute.
Hibs: McArthur, Bremner, Schaedler, Stanton, Black, Blackley, Edwards, O’Rourke, Gordon, Cropley, Duncan. Subs: Smith, Munro.
Kilmarnock: Stewart, Whyte, Robertson, McSherry, Rodman, Maxwell, Cook, Fleming, Morrison, McCulloch, Smith. Subs: Stevenson, McDicken.