Hibee History: Napoli crushed by Hibs

Pat Stanton fires past Dino Zoff in the Napoli goal on a night never to be forgotten at Easter Road
Pat Stanton fires past Dino Zoff in the Napoli goal on a night never to be forgotten at Easter Road
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Hibs annihilated Napoli to storm into the third round of the Fairs Cup after putting five past Italian legend Dino Zoff and overturning a 4-1 first-leg defeat.

Hibs 5, Napoli 0

November 29, 1967

21,000 turned up at Easter Road to roar Hibs into the next round and, in what became a memorable night, Hibs became the first Scottish team in eight attempts to defeat an Italian side over a two-legged contest.

In what looked to be mammoth task after slumping to an away defeat, Hibs made easy work with finesse and fury and made the three-goal ­deficit from the first leg look like a modest handicap.

From the moment Bobby Duncan belted the first goal past Zoff after five minutes, it was clear Napoli wouldn’t be able to live with Hibs. The five-star win ranked as Hibs’ greatest-ever European victory and with it came Hibs’ 50th goal in European competition when Pat Quinn grabbed a goal.

The cry from the stands was “Bring on the Leeds!” But after a brave battle, Hibs eventually lost 2-1 to the Elland Road side in the following round. Hibs had been written off in many quarters before the match after conceding four at the San Paulo stadium the previous Wednesday. But for those who saw the match, they knew that Hibs were unlucky to lose by such a margin.

Manager Bob Shankly was supremely confident and told Italian journalists that Hibs would qualify. His confidence was justified as Napoli were outclassed by their Scottish opponents, who recorded a result that would live long in the memory of the Hibees who attended the rout.

Napoli had no answer to Hibs’ surging raids. Every Hibs player fought for the ball with a tenacity that guaranteed success and they kept cool despite the harsh tackling and persistent fouling from the men from Naples who attempted to waste time.

Referee Senor Rige gave 21 fouls against Napoli in the first half such was their ­robustness used in defence to halt the ­Hibees attacking flair.

The Italians returned home in disgrace after substitute Girardo was given a straight red card for a deliberate kick at Hibs’ Eric Stevenson. Hibs were given a boost pre-match with the news that Stevenson would play. The winger was a huge asset with his ­presence in the home side’s midfield.

Duncan’s goal after five minutes was his first for the club. He received a short pass from Alex Scott and staved off a couple of challenges before cracking a 25-yard left footer high into the net.

This was the early goal Hibs required and the Italian’s were still rocking when Hibs notched their second before half-time. Quinn forced the ball into the net after Colin Stein’s effort had came back off the post.

Two goals in two minutes put Hibs into the ascendancy after the interval, shattering confidence of the Napoli stars. A wonderfully floated corner from Scott into the area was met by Peter Cormack, who rose higher than anyone else to nod the ball into the net.

Another tremendous assist from Scott came on 69 minutes when Pat Stanton met the ball at the far post to head home. Chants of “Easy, Easy” began to rise from the terraces of Easter Road, signalling the Neapolitans departure from the tournament. Colin Stein added a late fifth for the Hibees.

Hibs: Wilson, Duncan, Davis, Stanton, Madsen, McGraw, Scott, Quinn, Stein, Cormack, Stevenson.