APART from a muscle injury to outside right Alex Scott, it was a great night for Hibs at Easter Road, where they were more than worth a 3-0 victory against Porto in the first round of the Fairs Cup.
Few foreign teams have taken the sort of hammering that Hibs handed out in the first half as the Easter Road men produced a mesmerising display of attacking football. The many critics of Peter Cormack must have had a lean time in this game; this was Cormack at his best. His ball control was superb, his finishing deadly, and two first-half goals laid Porto low.
Colin Stein – who would go on to join Rangers – was a busy leader. Eric Stevenson had right back Caldemar going round in circles, and Pat Quinn supplied the ammunition from behind.
The story of the play was a catalogue of near misses, goal-line saves, and defensive heroics. Porto coach Pedroto said his team would attack and nobody paid any attention. But the point is they were never given the opportunity to show what they could do.
Porto arrived in Edinburgh having not conceded a goal in 270 minutes of football. Within 46 minutes, however, keeper Americo had picked the ball out of the net three times. And, but for some fantastic escapes, Hibs' first-leg lead could have been six or seven. Porto were outclassed by a superior team. Hibs slackened off once they slammed in their third but still threatened to add more.
Referee Jack Adair kept a fairly tight grip of the game, though he missed a bad foul on Madsen, who was the master of the middle whenever Porto threatened to cause trouble. And the Irishman was wrong not to award a penalty when Atraca tripped Cormack before Hibs scored.
The 14,000 fans – a good gate on a damp night – were in the mood to roar Hibs to victory, and the team responded superbly.
Cormack's first shot was stopped on the line, Stein sent in a scorching header before Stevenson missed a chance and was foiled by an Almeida save in a dramatic opening burst.
This barrage of raids had to pay off and, on 27 minutes, Baldemar was booked for a tackle on Stevenson. Quinn's free kick was ideal and Cormack outjumped everyone to nod the ball into the net.
Porto were wilting under the strain and the second goal came on 37 minutes when Cormack, supplied by a perfect pass from Scott, slipped the ball past Americo. It was a scant half-time lead considering the quality of the performance, but another goal followed on 46 minutes. Stein's head flicked on a Scott centre, and Stevenson's header finished it off.
Hibs would come up against an altogether different Porto side in the second leg, losing 3-1, but Pat Stanton's penalty took them through to the next round to face Napoli.
Hibs: Allan, Duncan, Davis, Stanton, Madsen, McGraw, Scott (Grant), Quinn, Stein, Cormack, Stevenson.
Porto: Americo, Valdemar, Almeida, Rolando, Atraca, Mario, Pinto, Pavao, Norbrega, Djalma, Malagueta (Antonio)