Hibs and St. Mirren Serve Up a Goal Feast at Easter Road - 1958

(first published in the match programme for St. Mirren v Hibs, 23rd April 2022)

Hibs v St. Mirren 1958

Hibs v St. Mirren 1958

When St. Mirren travelled through to Edinburgh to face Hibs for a League match on 22nd February 1958, both sides were on a poor run of League results. Saints had lost six out of their previous seven matches, while the Easter Road men had gained only three points from the same number of games since the end of-December.

In an effort to redress the situation, Saints made eight changes to the side that had lost 4-1 to Dunfermline in the Scottish Cup the previous week. The most interesting of these was to move John “Cockles” Wilson from left-back to centre-forward, the position for which he was originally signed by St. Mirren.

Very few of the 10,000 strong crowd could have anticipated the events they were about to witness that afternoon.

Within two minutes of the start, St. Mirren’s Tommy Gemmell latched on to a short passback from John Baxter to round goalkeeper Lawrie Leslie and open the scoring. Two minutes later, Hibs’ Willie Ormond crossed for Joe Baker to crash a shot against the crossbar and, as he headed the rebound towards goal, Saints’ John Higgins punched the ball clear. Eddie Turnbull stepped up to equalise from the resultant spot-kick.

After nine minutes, Tommy Bryceland took advantage of confusion in the home defence to net easily and almost fifteen minutes later the same player capitalised on good work by John Wilson to give the visitors a two-goal advantage.

More chances fell to either side, with a Vice Ryan header being cleared off the line by Joe McClelland and a John Fraser hook coming off the foot of the post into Jim Lornie’s hands. Hibs then reduced the deficit after 36 minutes when Lornie failed to hold a cross and Willie Ormond pounced to score from eight yards out. Five minutes later, it was all-square, when Baker deceived the Saints goalie and found the net from a tight angle.

A minute after the restart, St. Mirren took the lead again when a Bryceland cross found Ryan, and the debutant from Celtic nodded the ball past Leslie. Nine minutes later, Hibs equalised with a similar move, Ormond crossing for Jim Thomson to head home.

In 58 minutes, Higgins repeated his feat of the first half when he hurled himself through the air to handle a goal-bound Ormond effort. Turnbull’s penalty was brilliantly stopped by Lornie but the ball broke back to the Hibs man and he made no mistake with the rebound.

Eleven minutes from time, Ryan beat two defenders and crossed for Wilson to hook the ball into the net and make the final score five goals apiece.

The Hibs programme for the match, issue number 20 for the season, consisted of eight pages, slightly larger than A5-sized and was printed black on white matt paper with green spot colour throughout. The front cover provided the full match details, above and below a photo of Hibs’ winning goal in their midweek Scottish Cup replay against Dundee United.

Remarking that his side had only just overcome Dundee United in the Cup replay, Manager Hugh Shaw’s comments were focussed on his side’s need to find a more balanced attack in the two matches ahead of the next Cup-tie against Hearts (what happened to taking “one game at a time” in those days?). On the facing page, “Round Up” contained snippets of Club news on the condition of various players, ticket arrangements for the upcoming Cup-tie, and an invitation for Manchester United to visit before the end of the season.

The centre pages contained the team line ups in 2-3-5 formation surrounded by adverts from local traders. Hibs took the field as listed, but the numerous changes to the St. Mirren line up were too late to meet the printing deadlines. Also on these pages were details of Hibs’ friendly match against the British Army on the following Monday. Matches between Scottish Teams and the Army side were commonplace in these days and were very competitive, as the Army side usually consisted of professional players who were undertaking their National Service.

The next two pages contained the obligatory Half-Time Scoreboard of that day’s leading Scottish and English matches and details of Hibs’ recent Scottish Cup-ties against Dundee United and a Reserve fixture against Raith Rovers. The back page, entitled “Our Visitors” gave an overview of the Paisley playing staff, along with a number of Supporters’ Notes.

Despite its age, this is a relatively easy programme to obtain, but will cost considerably more than its original threepenny price tag.