HIBERNIAN’S European adventure came to an end in embarrassing style last night as they crashed out of the Europa League second qualifying round after suffering a 7-0 defeat to Malmo at Easter Road.
It was a record defeat in Europe for Hibs, eclipsing their 6-0 loss to AS Roma in 1960-61 and the heaviest aggregate defeat by a Scottish club in Europe.
Before last night no Scottish club had ever lost by more than eight goals over two legs. But this embarrassing mauling by the Swedish outfit surpassed even Rangers’ extraordinary 12-4 aggregate humbling by Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1960 European Cup semi-finals.
The result must heap pressure on manager Pat Fenlon, who has now presided over two of the most embarrassing results in the club’s history following the agonising 5-1 defeat to city rivals Hearts in the 2012 Scottish Cup final.
The task was always going to be a difficult one for Hibs, who trailed by two goals from Jiloan Hamad and Magnus Eriksson following last week’s meeting in Sweden.
Eriksson added to his goal from the first leg when he opened the scoring after 20 minutes, before a Rowan Vine effort was ruled offside for the Leith outfit.
There was a further setback when James McPake limped out of the action before the onslaught by the Swedes continued.
Emil Forsberg doubled the lead on the night on 25 minutes and Markus Halsti effectively ended the tie as a contest four minutes later.
But there was no let up from the visitors and Miiko Albornoz also added his name to the scoresheet four minutes before the break.
Tokelo Rantie helped himself to a goal on the hour mark, before Hamad scored five minutes later and substitute Simon Kroon completed the rout for the rampant Swedes on 72 minutes.
The emphatic win ensured Malmo progressed to a meeting with Swansea, ending any hope of an all-British clash in the next round.
A healthy 16,000-strong crowd gathered hoping to roar their side to a famous European victory and also pay tribute to the late Hibs forward Lawrie Reilly with a minute’s applause before kick-off.
After the whistle blew, however, the players did precious little to honour the memory of the club’s greatest-ever player, who died at the age of 84 earlier in the week.
They were facing a better team to be sure, but their meek surrender was painful to watch. At half-time, 4-0 down, many Hibs fans left and they continued to stream towards the exits as the horror continued to unfold during a second half which was a humiliation for Hibs and for Scottish football.
Malmo did a lap of honour round the Easter Road pitch, applauding those hardy Hibs fans who remained to the very bitter end