Saints end a long winless streak against the Hibees - 1968

(first published in the match programme for St. Mirren v Hibs, 12th September 2020)

When St. Mirren faced Hibernian at Love Street on November 2nd 1968, the home side were in the midst of a sensational undefeated start in the League. This was all the more surprising as, although they had recently been promoted as Second Division Champions, they had failed to qualify from their League Cup section in a disappointing campaign against lower league opposition. Hibs, on the other hand, were hoping to extend an eighteen-match undefeated run in all competitions against Saints, one that stretched back more than seven years.

Adamson and Kane

Bobby Adamson and Peter Kane

The visitors started brightly, using the wings to great effect, but they found little joy against Saints’ defence. In one of these forays. O’Rourke’s run found McGraw in the clear and the striker’s shot, whilst beating ‘keeper Denis Connaghan all ends up, came back off the underside of the bar. Saints immediately scampered to the other end of the field to open the scoring, when Bobby Adamson’s header from 12 yards out looped over the advancing Wilson in the Hibernian goal.

St. Mirren were more direct in attack, with Adamson causing panic every time he came near the opposition defence. On the other hand, Hibs wasted several good scoring chances by trying to be too clever with the final pass. When they did get the ball in the net after 37 minutes, McGraw was deemed to be yards offside and the score was disallowed.

In 42 minutes, Saints got their second goal when a ball from the left dropped into the Hibs goalmouth for Jim Blair to touch it back to Adamson. The striker’s low 12-yard shot beat Wilson - an object lesson for Hibs on how to score goals.

It was much the same story in the second half with St. Mirren, and Adamson in particular, buzzing around Wilson’s goal, while Hibs’ attacks were breaking down at the 18-yard line as their forwards persisted in close passing. Adamson and Blair had efforts which cleared the bar, whilst McGraw and Wilkinson missed open goals which could have brought the visitors back into the game. With six minutes to go, Peter Kane netted his side’s third goal to round off a comfortable 3-0 win in front of 8,250 spectators. At the end of the match, St. Mirren had broken their seven-year jinx against Hibernian and were now the last remaining undefeated Club in British league football.

St. Mirren v Hibs 1968

St. Mirren v Hibs 1968

The 12-page programme, slightly smaller than A5 size, was similar in format to St. Mirren issues of the late ‘Sixties. The front cover featured a photograph of Jim Blair’s second half equaliser against Airdrie at Broomfield in the previous week’s match. Alex Wright’s Manager’s View on page 3 reflected on that 1-1 draw and the other results which thus far in the season had led to a “levelling up” of the general standard of the game. He praised the team for their good start to the league campaign noting that, although the number of points gained was greater than the number of goals scored, this was not a fair reflection of the work put in by the forwards. Many chances were being created, but more needed to be converted into goals. He also had words of praise for the travelling support at Airdrie who had enthusiastically encouraged the team even when they were behind.

Pages four and five were of a statistical nature and gave the player appearances and goal scorers, the complete fixture list and results to date, and the league table which, after eight games, showed St. Mirren proudly sitting in second place, just one point behind leaders Celtic.

The centre pages provided the team line ups. The only difference from those published and who actually took the field was in the visitors, where there were a couple of positional changes and Marinello was replaced on the field by Wilkinson. No Hibs substitute was listed.

Page seven’s St. Mirren Pen Picture featured 24-year old Cammy Murray, praising his intelligent use of the ball from defence during the match at Airdrie. The opposite page gave the Half-Time Score Board, listing all of that day’s Scottish games. Those of a particular vintage will remember trying to match up the letters with the fixtures to determine if there were any first half shock scores!

The remainder of the programme was set aside for advertising, unfortunately some of which had yet to be filled by that stage of the season. However, for the price of 6d, the glossy programme was as good as any of its peers in the First Division that season.