Hibernian FC is a Scottish professional football club based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The club currently plays in the Scottish Premiership, the country’s highest football league in Scotland.
Hibernian FC Youth Development System
The Hibs Academy has gone from strength to strength both on and off the pitch in recent years. The club currently has a main U18 development squad that is bridging the gap between the youth teams and the first team. Beuzelin is the lead of the U13/U14s, with James McDonaugh looking after the U15/16s (Head of Professional Academy) and Gareth Evans leading the U18s.
Hibernian FC Academy
We caught up with Academy Director, Steve Kean, who tells us how he is settling into life at Hibs and his exciting new plans to bridge the gap between the Academy and First Team squads.
Kean joined The Hibees back in November 2021, heading up our Academy system. The 54-year-old brought with him a well-polished CV in both playing and coaching capacities as well as an impressive track-record of developing young footballing talent.
After quickly assessing his surroundings, Steve has got to work on his mission to make Hibernian FC ‘the best academy in Scotland’, he explains:
“It has been a fantastic two-and-a-half months so far here at Hibs. I have been really impressed with all the squads here from the pre-academy, junior academy and then all the way up to the boys who are in full time – we’ve got a talented group of lads here.
“There is a big set up here, with a lot of staff both full-time and part-time staff in the evenings too.
“I’ve assessed everything, so now there are a few plans in place to expand and develop which Ben Kensell and the Chairman have backed us on. I wouldn’t say there are improvements to be made – it is more expanding on the good practice that was already here before me.
“What we are trying to do here is, we are trying to make the Hibs academy the best there is in Scotland.”
A fundamental factor in taking the academy to the next level is the introduction of a new squad for next season, the Development Squad. Kean explains:
“We are looking into adding another age group in, so below the First Team but older than the U18.
“This will be the Development Team which will be a group of lads who are aspiring to be in the First Team but aren’t quite there yet.
“The team will compete in a lot of matches in England, against teams from the English U23 system, to help try and bridge the gap between U18 football and First Team football, which I have said from day one is a huge jump.”
The Development Team will still play some fixtures in Scotland, whilst also travelling across the border to player English teams from the U23s system. Steve insists that exposing, players to a new environment, different styles of play and technical abilities will help the development of players going forward and ultimately prepare them for First Team football.
“It has been a big financial commitment from the club because it is not cheap to travel down to England for these types of matches. Logistically it is a big job so it is great to see the club backing that.
“At the other end, the rewards are huge. To play against that level of player, will really help stretch our lads, taking them outside of their comfort zone.
“We want to be involved against high-profile teams, your likes of Newcastle, Liverpool, Brentford etc and play against opposition that has highly technical, quality players.
“We want our players to be tested at a higher level, to be exposed to a different style of football so we can see exactly where our players are in terms of their development.
“I think the players will really benefit individually from playing in these types of fixtures and then collectively we will see those benefits as a club.
“Ultimately the focus is preparing them for First Team football and preparing them as well as we can for when they run out on Easter Road for their First Team debut.”
Hibernian FC Recruitment Trials
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Hibernian FC History
Irishmen who were living in the Cowgate neighborhood of Edinburgh at the time established the club in 1875. The name Hibernian, which comes from the ancient name for Ireland known as Hibernia, the color green, the Gaelic harp, and the motto Erin Go Bragh, which translates to “Ireland Forever,” were all embraced early on as symbols. The club’s first president was its founder, Fr. Edward Joseph Hannan, and Michael Whelahan served as the club’s first captain of the first team. While the club was “closely connected” with the Irish Home Rule Movement in the 1880s, James Connolly, the prominent socialist and Irish Republican leader, was a Hibs supporter. In addition, James Connolly was a Hibs fan. There was some sectarian resistance in the beginning to an Irish team participating in Scottish football, but Hibs established themselves as a power in Scottish football in the 1880s. The 1887 Scottish Cup was the first major trophy that a team from the east coast of Scotland was able to bring home. That club was Hibs. In a friendly match that was advertised as the Association Football Championship of the World Decider, they went on to win against Preston North End, a team who had previously competed in the 1887 FA Cup and advanced to the semi-finals.
Due to poor administration over the following several years, Hibs was forced out of its home in 1891, and the club was forced to temporarily suspend operations.
At the end of 1892, a lease on the Easter Road site was purchased, and on February 4, 1893, Hibs played their first match at Easter Road.
In spite of this break in continuity, the club now considers the years between 1875 and 1891 to be part of a single continuous history. As a result, it counts all of the honors it achieved during this time period, including the Scottish Cup from 1887. The club was accepted into the Scottish Football League in the year 1893; however, they were required to win the Second Division two times before they could be elected into the First Division in the year 1895.
The requirement for players to be members of the Catholic Young Men’s Society was dropped at this time, which was a significant development at this point in history.
It is no longer considered an Irish or Roman Catholic institution, as it was in the early years of Hibs’s existence, and this perception has changed. For instance, the Irish harp wasn’t re-added to the club badge until the very last time it was re-designed, which was in the year 2000. This design incorporates elements that speak to the club’s roots in Ireland, Edinburgh (the castle), and Leith (the ship). It is now believed that geography, rather than ethnicity or religion, is the fundamental reason for supporting Hibs, who receive the majority of their support from the neighborhoods located to the north and east of Edinburgh.
After being reconstituted, the Hibs team was able to achieve some level of success by winning the Scottish Cup in 1902 and their first league championship the following year. However, after this, the club went through a dry spell that lasted for a very long time. The team was demoted to the lower division for the first time in 1931 after suffering a drop in league standing; however, they were able to recover and return to the premier level the following year. The infamous losing streak in the Scottish Cup started when they made it to three cup finals, including two in a row, but were unsuccessful in all of them.
The decade that followed the end of World War II was the most successful for Hibs, and during that time, the club was considered to be “among the premier clubs in Britain.” The forward line that consisted of Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull, and Willie Ormond was “considered as the finest ever seen in Scottish football.” Collectively, they were known as the Famous Five. Each member of the Famous Five was responsible for more than one hundred goals scored for Hibs. In recognition of them, the north stand at Easter Road has been given the name. Smith was the first player to join with Hibs for the club, doing so in 1941, while Ormond, Turnbull, Reilly, and Johnstone all did so in 1946. Only Ormond was one of the five players who Hibs had to pay a fee to Stenhousemuir to acquire, and that amount was £1200. All four of these players, Reilly, Johnstone, Smith, and Turnbull, were signed after playing in either youth or junior leagues.
Hibs made it all the way to the final of the 1947 Scottish Cup in their first season back playing competitive football after the Second World War. They grabbed an early lead in the match, but in the end, they were defeated by Aberdeen by a score of 2–1. Hibs was able to win the Scottish league championship for the first time since 1903 thanks to the addition of Reilly to the first team during the 1947–48 season. In spite of the fact that team manager Willie McCartney passed away in January 1948, this was nevertheless accomplished. Hugh Shaw followed McCartney as manager, and he was the one who brought Johnstone onto the first team during 1948. In the 1948–1949 season, Hibs finished in third place in the league. On April 21, 1949, Hibs fielded a team that featured all of its renowned five players for the first time in a competitive encounter when they faced Nithsdale Wanderers in a friendly. After that, on October 15, 1949, they all participated in their first game together, which was a victory over Queen of the South by a score of 2-0. They finished second in the league, behind the Rangers by one point. This was an improvement from the previous year’s campaign, in which they finished third.
The years 1950–1951 were the most successful years for the Famous Five. Hibs won the league by a 10-point margin thanks to the contributions of other internationalists including Tommy Younger and Bobby Combe (when two points were awarded for each win). They competed in the final of the Scottish League Cup in 1950. However, Turnbull was unable to participate in the championship game due to his hat trick performance in the semi-final. While Ormond shifted to the inside left position, Jimmy Bradley began the game on the left flank. They lost to Motherwell by a score of 3–0. In the 1951–1952 season, Hibs successfully defended their league championship, this time claiming victory by a margin of four points. On the final day of the 1952–1953 season, Hibs came within a hair’s breadth of winning a third straight championship. Ibrox won the championship after Rangers scored an equalizer in the dying minutes of their game against Queen of the South. The infamous front line known as the Famous Five continued to play together until March of 1955, when Johnstone was transferred to the Manchester City squad.
Also see: Hibernian F.C. in European football and the 1955–1956 season. European Cup
Hibs were invited to play in the inaugural season of the European Cup in 1955, despite the fact that they had only finished fifth in the Scottish League that year. At the time, participation in the tournament was not determined only by a team’s position in its domestic league.
Eighteen clubs were asked to take part in the competition because it was anticipated that their participation would pique interest all throughout Europe and because it was required that they have floodlights in order to play games in the evening. On October 18, 1954, a friendly match versus Hearts was held at Easter Road, and it was during this match that floodlights were deployed for the first time. As a result of Alan Hardaker’s efforts as secretary of the Football League, Chelsea, the reigning English champions, decided not to compete in Europe, making Hibs the first British team to do so.
Hibs faced Rot-Weiss Essen in their debut match, and the result was a 4–0 victory for Hibs in the Georg-Melches-Stadion and a 1–1 draw at Easter Road. They prevailed over Djurgardens IF to advance to the semifinals, however in that match they were defeated by Stade Reims, who included the well-known France national team star Raymond Kopa in their lineup. The match was decided by a score of 3-0 on aggregate. The final score was Real Madrid 4–3, while Reims was the losing team.
Throughout the 1960s, Hibs were regular competitors in the Fairs Cup, where they were victorious in ties against Barcelona and Napoli. Despite this, the team did not have much success on the domestic front until 1971, when former player Eddie Turnbull was convinced to take the managerial position at Easter Road. The club, more commonly referred to as Turnbull’s Tornadoes, achieved a runner-up position in the league in both 1974 and 1975 and triumphed in the League Cup in 1972. Additionally, the team won the Drybrough Cup in both 1972 and 1973, and on January 1, 1973, they defeated their opponents from Edinburgh in a derby game by a score of 7–0 at Tynecastle.
After the middle of the 1970s, performances started to deteriorate because Hibs was supplanted as the primary rival to the Old Firm by the New Firm, which was comprised of Aberdeen and Dundee United. Up 1980, Turnbull handed in his resignation as manager of Hibs, which led to the club’s relegation for the second time in their history. They were promptly promoted back to the Scottish Premier Division in 1981, but the club struggled during the 1980s and did not qualify for European participation until 1989. In 1981, they were instantly promoted back to the Scottish Premier Division.
As a result of poor administration during the latter half of the 1980s, Hibs was on the verge of bankruptcy in the year 1990. Wallace Mercer, the chairman of Hearts, offered a merger of the two clubs, but the Hibs fans considered that the idea was more along the lines of a hostile takeover. In order to advocate for the football club’s ongoing existence, they came together to form the Hands off Hibs group. This was successful as a result of the acquisition of a controlling interest in Hibs by a notable local businessman named Sir Tom Farmer, who owns Kwik-Fit. Despite the fact that Farmer did not have a significant interest in football, the supporters were successful in convincing him to assume charge of the team. Farmer was influenced in part by the fact that a relative of his had been involved in the rescue of Hibs from financial catastrophe in the early 1890s. This occurred when the company was on the verge of going bankrupt. Following the failed takeover bid by Mercer, Hibs enjoyed some success in the early 1990s, including winning the final of the Scottish League Cup in 1991 and placing in the top five of the league standings in each of the years 1993, 1994, and 1995. Hibs were demoted to the First Division not long after Alex McLeish was hired as manager in 1998; nevertheless, they were soon promoted back to the Scottish Premier League the following year (1999).
The 2000–2001 season was a successful one for Hibs as they finished third in the league and advanced all the way to the 2001 Scottish Cup Final, where they were defeated by Celtic by a score of 3-0. In December of 2001, manager Alex McLeish left to become the manager of Rangers. Despite the fact that club captain Franck Sauzée had no prior coaching experience, he was named as the new manager. After a disastrous stretch of play, Sauzée was relieved of his duties as head coach after only 69 days on the job.
After that, Hibs decided to appoint Bobby Williamson, who had been the manager of Kilmarnock, although the fans did not like him very much.
On the other hand, a “golden generation” of exciting young players, including as Garry O’Connor, Derek Riordan, Kevin Thomson, and Scott Brown, developed at this time.
These players had significant playing time when Hibs eliminated both half of the Old Firm and advanced to the final of the 2004 Scottish League Cup, which they ultimately lost to Livingston by a score of 2-0.
Tony Mowbray took over as manager of Plymouth Argyle after Williamson stepped down as head coach of the club near the close of the previous campaign. In Hibs’ first season under his management, the team finished in third place, while Mowbray was named SFWA Manager of the Year.
In March of 2007, the Scottish League Cup was presented to the winner.
Mowbray departed Hibs in October 2006 to become the manager of West Bromwich Albion, and he was succeeded as Hibs manager by John Collins, a former player for the club.
While he was the team’s manager, they triumphed in the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final. However, the club ultimately decided to sell Kevin Thomson, Scott Brown, and Steven Whittaker for a combined price of more than £8 million.
Collins, dissatisfied with the little money available to sign fresh players, handed up his resignation later that year. Mixu Paatelainen, a former player for Hibs, was brought in as Collins’ replacement, but he resigned before the end of his first full season on the job.
John Hughes, another another former player for Hibernian, was quickly named to fill Paatelainen’s position as manager.
Hibs got off to a strong start in the 2009–10 season under the leadership of Hughes, who was responsible for high-profile signings like as those of Anthony Stokes and Liam Miller.
In 2010, Hibs had a fourth-place finish and earned a spot in the Europa League, but the team had a terrible start to the 2010–11 season, which led manager John Hughes leaving the club. Colin Calderwood succeeded Hughes as CEO, however he didn’t last long after being fired himself the following year. In the 2011–12 season, the team avoided relegation and advanced all the way to the Scottish Cup Final under new manager Pat Fenlon. However, they were defeated by Hearts 5–1 in that match. Following this setback, Fenlon made significant changes to the team. As a consequence of this, the team finished in a higher place in the league during the 2012–2013 season and advanced all the way to the Scottish Cup Final in 2013, where they were defeated by league winners Celtic by a score of 3-0. Hibs were able to qualify for the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League, although they were eliminated by Malmo in the first round with a record-setting loss for Scotland in European play (9–0 on aggregate). On November 1, Fenlon handed in his resignation, and he was succeeded by Terry Butcher. Due to the fact that Hibs finished the 2013–14 Scottish Premiership season with a losing record of 13 games in a row, the club was forced to participate in a relegation play-off, which they ultimately lost to Hamilton Academical in a penalty shootout.
Butcher was terminated in June and Alan Stubbs took over in his place. Although he was unable to guide the squad to promotion, they did quite well in the cup competition during the 2015–2016 season. The team advanced all the way to the League Cup final, when they were ultimately defeated by Ross County. After this, they were successful in winning the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1902, which culminated in a victory over Rangers in the cup final. Shortly after the team’s success in the cup tournament, Hibs manager Alan Stubbs tendered his resignation to take over as head coach at Rotherham United. Stubbs was succeeded as Hibs manager by Neil Lennon, who guided the team to promotion by winning the 2016–17 Scottish Championship. In their first year back in the top division of Scottish football, Hibs finished in fourth place in the Premiership and earned a spot in the Europa League. Lennon departed the club in January 2019, and Paul Heckingbottom took over as manager; nevertheless, Heckingbottom was only in charge for a total of seven months.
In the 2019–20 league season, which was cut short due to the epidemic, Hibs finished sixth in the standings. The following year, they had a third-place finish in the league and made it to the final of the Scottish Cup in 2021, although they were defeated by St. Johnstone by a score of 1-0. Ross led Hibs to the League Cup final later that year, but he was fired 10 days before the final after a run of seven losses in nine league games. This was due to the team’s poor performance in the league.
Hibernian FC Stadium
Before shifting to fields in Newington (Mayfield Park) and Bonnington Road, Leith (Powderhall), in different spells between 1877 and 1879, Hibs played on The Meadows during the first two years of their history. After the club’s lease at Mayfield Park was up, they relocated to a new stadium in Leith that was known as Hibernian Park. This stadium was located on what is now Bothwell Street. Hibs was unable to get the ground lease for the property, and in the year 1890, a builder began constructing residences on the site. In the year 1892, Hibs signed a lease for the property that is now known as Easter Road, and the club has called that location their home field ever since February of 1893.
Easter Road was able to accommodate audiences numbering in excess of 60,000 people because it had extensive banks of terracing on three sides until the Taylor Report mandated that the stadium be converted into an all-seated facility.
An Edinburgh derby that took place on January 2, 1950, set a new attendance record of 65,860 people, which is also the record for a football match played in Edinburgh. The popularity of the Famous Five was responsible for drawing in such huge audiences.
The pitch was famous for its steep incline in the past, but it was leveled off in the year 2000. The stadium has a total seating capacity of 20,421, and it is currently all-seated. The four stands at Easter Road Stadium are all relatively new, having been constructed when the stadium opened in 1995. The installation of a new East Stand in 2010 represented the most recent improvement to the stadium.
Since 1998, Easter Road has been the site of seven of Scotland’s home matches, all of which have taken place there. The Scotland women’s national football team played their first game at Easter Road in August 2019, which was a qualification match for the Euro 2021 tournament versus Cyprus.
The stadium has only been used for one international competition that did not involve a Scotland team. Prior to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, a friendly match between Ghana and South Korea was played there. Additionally, on occasion, the semi-final matches of the Scottish League Cup have been played at Easter Road in a neutral capacity which was once the location of the final of the Scottish Challenge Cup.