Italian giants Napoli face European Champions Liverpool at Murrayfield tomorrow hoping they fare better than the last time they visited the capital over 50 years ago.
On 29 November 1967,Napoli or Naples as they were known then arrived in Edinburgh in confident mood with a 4-1 lead from the first leg of an Inter Cities Fairs Cup tie. The fact that they had the best goalkeeper in the world, Dino Zoff, may have added to their belief, but Hibs’ boss Bob Shankly, brother of Liverpool’s Bill, told anyone who would care to listen that his players were more than capable of progressing.
The Napoli’ manager however was less than convinced with Shankly’s bravado and decided to leave his star striker Jose Altafini back in Italy to prepare for a forthcoming league game, a decision he would soon regret.
Naples won the toss and decided to play ‘down the slope’.
Hibs attacked from the off and Easter Road erupted in the fifth minute when full back Bobby Duncan scored what many believe to be the finest goal ever scored at the famous old stadium. Picking the ball up in midfield, Duncan beat off two challenges and struck an unstoppable left foot shot into the top corner of the net from a distance which increases every time the story is told.
Two minutes later Hibs were denied a penalty when Peter Cormack was brought down inside the box but referee Antonio Rigo from Malorca inexplicably awarded an indirect free kick.
The Italians reverted to illegal tactics and Eric Stevenson was lucky to escape serious injury after a particularly bad foul by Nardin and the Hibs’ winger had to have his knee bandaged.
Pat Quinn, Alan McGraw and Colin Stein all went close as Hibs bombarded the Napoli’ goal then with half time approaching, Stein’s determination paid off when he cut the ball back into the path of Quinn who raced in and hit a low hard shot which flew into the net off the post.
In the 67th minute Cormack rose to head the ball into the net from a Scott corner, then two minutes later, with the fans chanting ‘Easy Easy’ Pat Stanton made it 4-0 with a fine header.
The Italians were stunned and with 15 minutes remaining, Gerardo was ordered off kicking Stevenson as both players were on the ground.
In the 79th minute a Napoli clearance was intercepted by Stein who raced through to hammer the ball past Zoff for the fifth time.
After the game a delighted Bob Shankly said: “I thought from what I had seen in Naples that we could do it but never quite so comfortably as this. A wonderful result for us.”
Bobby Duncan said: ” This was my first ever goal – and from my left foot too. I could hardly believe it as I saw the ball sailing into the net.”
Naples President Signor Lauro said: ” Hibs were anther team altogether from the one we met in Naples. Their power, their force and their speed were too much for us.”