Following almost weekly criticism of Scotland’s referees, I am taking a look back at ten decisions, some going back over 50 years, that still infuriate Hibs’ fans.
10 – On 18 November 1996, Hearts’ striker Stephane Paille confronted Hibs’ captain John ‘Yogi’ Hughes during an Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle. Yogi smiled at the Frenchman and playfully ruffled his hair, at which point Paille threw himself to the ground holding his face. Referee John Rowbotham who had not witnessed the incident unbelievably produced a red card. The game ended 0-0.
9 – On 30 March 2014, Hibs’ fans travelled to Tynecastle for a ‘Relegation Party’. Things didn’t work out but with Hearts leading 1-0, Jordon Forster bulleted in a header from Ryan McGivern’s cross, sparking mayhem amongst the supporters until the spotted the linesman’s flag. TV replays showed that Forster was at least two-yards onside. Terry Butcher described the decision as ‘scandalous’ and a point that day could have saved the club from relegation.
8 – On 7 November 1981 Rangers were awarded a penalty in front of the ‘Cowshed’ when John MacDonald conned referee Louis Thow with a dive so outrageous that the ‘normally placid’ Hibs’ Chairman Tom Hart publically branded him a ‘cheat.” Rangers won the game 2-1 and McDonald subsequently earned him the nickname ‘Polaris’. Hart was fined by the SFA for his comments.
7 – On 28 December 2017 Hibs travelled to Tynecastle full of confidence after an excellent start to their first season back in the top fight. In the sixth minute, Oli Shaw fired Martin Boyle’s low cross off the underside of the crossbar. Linesman Sean Carr did not indicate a goal and referee Steven Mclean waved play on. TV evidence later showed that the ball had clearly crossed the line and the game ended 0-0. The extra two points would have seen Hibs finish 3rd.
6 – On 19 May 2012 the Scottish Cup final paired Hibs and Hearts. Hearts took a 2-0 lead but just before the break, James McPake pulled one back. Early in the second half Hearts’ winger Suso cut in from the right beating Pa Kubabi who pulled his jersey. The incident happed well outside the box but after releasing the winger, his ‘momentum’ carried him into the penalty area. The Hibs’ fans knew that Pa Kujabi deserved a second yellow card but erupted in fury when referee Craig Thomson pointed to the spot. Danny Grainger converted the spot kick and the rest is history.
5 – On 10 January 1968, Hibs met Leeds United in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup. Leeds held a 1-0 lead from the first leg but an early Colin Stein goal levelled the scoring. Hibs dominated throughout but in the 87th minute, referee Clive Thomas who loved to be the centre of attention controversially awarded the Englishmen an indirect free-kick when Hibs’ keeper Willie Wilson carried the ball for five steps. A four step rule had recently been introduced but Wilson was clearly impeded by a Leeds player whilst trying to clear the ball. Jack Charlton headed the equaliser from the free-kick and Hibs were eliminated.
4 – On 18 October 1975, Hibs faced Celtic at Parkhead in the newly formed Premier League. The pair were great rivals and had for the previous three years been Scotland’s top two teams, facing each other in four national cup finals with Hibs winning three. Both sides were challenging for top spot and Des Bremner gave Hibs the lead in the 26th minute. Joe Harper added a second with 12-minutes remaining sparking yet another pitch invasion by the home fans. A fog had descended over Parkhead and referee Bobby Davidson decided to abandon the game although by the time the Hibs fans reached London road the fog had cleared. The replay ended 1-1 and Celtic won the title.
3 – On 10 March 2013 during an Edinburgh derby at Easter Road, Leigh Griffiths (pictured) struck one of the finest free-kicks ever seen at the stadium. From 35-yards he curled a sensational strike over the wall. The ball struck the underside of the crossbar and clearly bounced two yards over the line. The only three people who did not see the ‘goal’ were referee Euan Norris and his two linesmen. Even from 75-yards away in the Easter Road press-box, it was clearly a goal. The game ended 0-0.
2 – On 12 May 1979 Hibs faced Rangers in the final of the Scottish Cup. With the game goalless and time running out, Hibs were denied victory when referee Brian McGinlay ignored a stonewall penalty in the dying minutes of the game. Hibs’ young striker Colin Campbell knocked the ball past rangers keeper Peter McCloy but the aptly nicknamed ‘Girvin Lighthouse’ clattered him with an ungainly ‘kung fu’ kick. The youngster admirably tried to stay on his feet but was unable to get to the ball before it was cleared and the game which Hibs dominated ended 0-0 as did the replay. Rangers won the third game 3-2 and Hibs had to wait another 37 years before the trophy found its way to Easter Road.
1 – On 13 May 2016, arguably the worst decision in the history of Scottish football resigned Hibs to an extra season in the Championship. The first leg of the 2016 Play-Off semi final ended in a 2-2 draw between Hibs and Falkirk although the home supporters left the ground infuriated at having been denied a clear penalty kick following a handball by. After going a goal down in the second leg, James Keating was brought down in the act of shooting from close range by David McCracken. Referee Craig Thomson had no alternative but to award a penalty but to the amazement of everyone inside the ground as well as journalists, former players and former referees he not only failed to show McCracken the obligatory red card but he didn’t even show him a yellow. The law was quite clear yet Thomson for some reason that has never been explained decided to ignore the rules. Hibs were defeated 3-2 on the night but the injustice was quickly forgotten a few days later when ‘Sir’ David Gray headed the winner in injury time to bring the Scottish Cup back to Leith for the first time since 1902.