Hibs were riding high in Europe in 1967, beating Portugal’s Porto 4-3 on aggregate in the first round of the Inter Cities Fairs Cup – the forerunner of today’s Europa League – before pulling off an astonishing comeback against Napoli.
The Easter Road side returned from Italy in a seemingly hopeless position having lost the first leg 4-1, reflected in the fact the ground was less than half full for the return match although you wouldn’t believe it from the number of fans who claim to have been there that night,
In an incredible performance Bob Shankly’s players left the Italians, not least their legendary goalkeeper Dino Zoff, stunned, Bobby Duncan and Pat Quinn claiming first-half goals before Hibs, shooting down the slope, added further strikes from Peter Cormack, Pat Stanton and Colin Stein.
The unexpected victory set up a “Battle of Britain” encounter with Don Revie’s Leeds United, the English club winning the first leg at Elland Road – at which Hibs were presented with this tankard – with an early goal from Eddie Gray.
Hibs looked like pulling off another remarkable comeback when Stein scored in only the fourth minute in Edinburgh on January 10, 1968, but they were unable to build on it. The game looked set for extra-time until Welsh referee Clive Thomas punished goalkeeper Willie Wilson under the newly-introduced “four steP” rule, leaving Johnny Giles to clip in a cross for Jack Charlton to rise above everyone to head home the winner.
Hibs, however, were just one of three Scottish clubs in the competition and, by an amazing twist of fate, Leeds were to knock out all of them, beating Rangers in the quarter-final and then Dundee in the semi-final before going on to defeat Hungarian side Ferencvaros, Mick Jones getting the only goal in the two-legged final.
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