Hibs all but secured their passage into the second round of the Fairs Cup after this crushing victory over Swedish amateur side Malmo in the first leg at Easter Road.
Eric Persson, the grey-haired manager of the away side, dolefully appeared from his team’s dressing-room after the defeat and saluted Hibs for their victory, when he said: “Thanks for the lesson.”
It was testament to the performance of striker Joe McBride who captured the club scoring record in European ties with a hat-trick while lending a hand with two more of the goals. He was entitled to wear a broad grin post-match.
“The one that went in off the bar was the best,” said McBride. “Sometimes it’s hard to get goals when you’re so well on top, but everyone is satisfied.”
McBride was right, to an extent. Hibs did find it hard to get goals in the initial half hour. But that wasn’t strictly due to their dominance. Both sides found it nigh on impossible to pass the ball without slipping and sliding on the wet surface, thanks to a miserable drizzle of rain which came before kick-off. For the initial 30 minutes it seemed that anything could happen.
Two quick, simple goals arrived for Hibs in three minutes putting them into a flattering half-time lead although the Scandinavians had done nothing to trouble Hibs goalkeeper Gordon Marshall in the first period. The initial breakthrough came after a rampaging run towards goal from Jim Black, with his shot striking off McBride and into the path of Jim Blair who found himself in the right place to open his account for the club. McBride then grabbed his first of the match, to make it two, after Alex Cropley’s cross eventually found it’s way to the striker after rebounding off a Malmo defender.
Hibs found it easier in the second half, as they played down the slope. They were able to capitalise on the more favoured conditions underfoot as they mounted tremendous pressure on the Swedes’ goal.
By the 60th minute, the tie was as good as over, McBride grabbed another two in as many minutes to wrap up his hat-trick, his third goal the pick of the bunch after a cannonball effort from outside the box came off the underside of the bar. Sixty seconds before it, he grabbed his second with a typically cool header. Hibs suddenly found a great enthusiasm for more goals to the astonishment of Malmo, with the home side refusing to ease up.
McBride combined with Arthur Duncan when he swept a cross to the back post which Duncan rose highest to meet and nod the ball into the net for his side’s fifth. Duncan then wrapped up the tie with his second – a quickly-hit shot which Malmo keeper Nils Hult had no chance with.
Hibs secured a second-round tie with Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes after overcoming Malmo 3-2 in the second leg. A 3-2 aggregate victory over Guimaraes ensured a lucrative tie against Liverpool who proved too strong for the Hibees with a 3-0 aggregate win.
Hibs: Marshall, Shevlane, Schaedler, Stanton, Black, Hamilton, Duncan, Blair, McBride, McEwan, Cropley.