Hibs in 50 objects: No.26 – Alex Cropley’s League Cup medals

Alex Cropley's League Cup medals from 1972 and 1974
Alex Cropley's League Cup medals from 1972 and 1974
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Eddie Turnbull had predicted it would take three years for his team to develop as he recognised the scale of the task ahead of him when he returned to Easter Road as manager having transformed Aberdeen’s fortunes, and so it proved when they were crushed 6-1 by Celtic in the 1972 final of the Scottish Cup.

But the Edinburgh club totally turned the tables on Jock Stein’s side a few months later as they won the Drybrough Cup, beating the Hoops 5-3 after extra time.

A souvenir poster marking the 1972 League Cup triumph

A souvenir poster marking the 1972 League Cup triumph

Even better was to follow, though, as Hibs lifted the League Cup for the first time at the end of that year. Once again Celtic were the opponents, Hibs having crushed Airdrie 10-3 on aggregate in the quarter-finals and Rangers 1-0 in the penultimate round.

Goals from Pat Stanton and Jimmy O’Rourke put them ahead that December afternoon, only for Kenny Dalglish to pull one back for Celtic with 13 minutes remaining to give the Hibs players and supporters a nervous climax to the game.

Hibs were again back in the League Cup final in the October of 1974, having beaten Rangers home and away in the early group stage of the competition, and Celtic again the all too familiar opposition.

Joe Harper, signed by Turnbull from Everton with the ever popular Jimmy O’Rourke going to St Johnstone to make way for him, scored a hat-trick for Hibs but so too did Celtic’s Dixie Deans with Jimmy Johnstone, Steve Murray and Paul Wilson also netting to ensure a 6-3 triumph for the Glasgow club.

Pictured are a souvenir Evening News poster to mark the 1972 triumph along with midfielder Alex Cropley’s medals, loaned to the Hibernian Historical Trust, from both League Cup finals.