It appears that the mighty Hibernian Football Club will again be playing FC Barcelona. This time in a pre-season friendly. I wrote about it here: Hibs pre-season a few days ago but it’s now been appearing in the tabloids. They give the date as 31st July. I’m presuming they have some inside info there but you can never really know, they might be going on rumour like me. There are other rumours of 24th circulating. The date seems to change but the rumour of Hibs playing Barcelona at Murrayfield seems to be gathering pace.
EDIT: Hibs have now confirmed the game will be on Thursday 24th July 2008, 7.45pm at Murrayfield Stadium
Anyhoo, here’s some info on the last time Hibs played Barcelona…
Hibs v Barcelona, 22nd February 1961
Hibs got through the first round of the European Cup because French team Lausanne Sports scratched. Hibs form in the league had not been particularly great. The first game was due to be played on 14th December but was cancelled due to fog.
The teams met up in Barcelona on 27th December with Joe Baker scoring twice along with Preston and McLeod to put Hibs 2-4 ahead. Barca scored two in the closing minutes of the game, making the final score 4-4. Not bad away from home to Barcelona.
The next leg was played at Easter Road on 22nd February. Around 50,000 fans packed in to Easter Road that night to witness Joe Baker scoring to put Hibs 1 up within 10 minutes. Barcelona came right back, equalising 10 minutes later through Martinez and going ahead just before half time thanks to a Kocsis goal.
Hibs came out brightly in the second half, putting Barca under pressure whilst shooting down the slope. The game was becoming more heated and the Barcelona players were becoming more frustrated. Hibs were denied two penalties by the German referee.
On 75 minutes, Preston managed to equalise from an Ormond corner and Hibs kept piling on the pressure. Well into the last ten minutes of the game, McLeod was fouled inside the box and the referee this time gave the penalty. The Barcelona players reacted badly to this, attacking the referee who required protection from Hibs players then the police.
10 minutes later, the situation was under control and the game restarted, Hibs Bobby Kinloch scoring the penalty to put Hibs 3-2 up.
The Barca players again tried to attack the referee who made a run for the tunnel. He didn’t make it and the result was a shambles of Hibs fans, Barcelona players, police and a referee.
The game somehow started again after a few minutes, I think these days it would simply have been abandoned. The two teams played out the final 5 minutes and the ref made a sharp exit, surrounded by Lothian and Borders finest.
Barcelona coach Enrique Onzaola made an apology of sorts to Hibs after the game: “We cannot blame Hibs. The game was clean and sporting until the penalty incident. We will not be taking action against any of our players. When an obvious injustice has been done, it is part of our Spanish temperament to show feeling.”
“Our players went too far, I admit. We have made our apologies to Hibs and to the referee.”
So, final score 3-2 to the Hibees against FC Barcelona. Not bad, can we do it again? I doubt we’ll see the same level of excitement this time round but who knows?