Club History

Hibernian FC was formed on August 6th 1875 by a group of Irish men who had emigrated to Scotland to escape the Irish potato famine of the mid 1800’s. The team was called Hibernian after the Roman name for Ireland and was formed as on off-shoot of the Catholic Young Men’s Society. Initially, their attempts to join the Edinburgh Football Association and the SFA were rejected, as they were informed that “the Association was for Scotsmen not Irishmen.” Hibernian’s first recorded game took place on Christmas day 1875, against a side that in time would become their greatest rivals, Heart of Midlothian. In these early days, games were played on an invitational basis around Scotland and funds raised would be re-invested by the church into local community projects. Over time, Hibernian became a football club for all the people of Edinburgh and beyond, a club welcoming to and followed by people of all and no religions. 

Hibernian Football Club History 1876 1875 Hibs

Initially, St Patrick’s Church in the Cowgate allowed the club the use of the St Mary Street Halls for their meetings and changing facilities at Potterrow for matches. In December 1877, the club leased an area at Mayfield on the eastern side of Craigmillar Park. In 1879, the club won its first major silverware after defeating Hearts in the final of the local Edinburgh Association Cup. Hibernian went from strength to strength, and between 1879 and 1888 Hibernian won the Edinburgh Association Shield 8 times. In 1887 Hibernian won the Scottish Cup for the first time by defeating Dumbarton 2-1 at Cathkin Park. In Hibernians FC’s fortunes continued, winning the Scottish Cup for a second time in 1902, and reaching the Cup finals in 1923 and 1924. However, the club’s fortunes declined by the end of the decade, leading to Hibernian’s first relegation in 1931.

Under new leadership from chairman Harry Swan and manager Willie McCartney, and with the illustrious ‘Famous Five’ on the pitch, the seeds were sown for one of the most successful periods in Hibernian History. Between 1948 and 1952, Hibernian won the League Championship 3 times. In 1955, the club became the first British side to enter the European Cup (now the Champions League), reaching the semi-final. Having narrowly escaped relegation in 1963, Jock Stein was appointed as manager and Hibernian saw a resurgence once again. In 1971, Famous Five star Eddie Turnbull returned to manage the club. This resulted in the creation of the ‘Turnbull’s Tornadoes’, who prevented Celtic from winning the 1972 League Cup Final for the ninth time in a row.


The 1980’s marked a period of major redevelopments for Easter Road stadium. Over the following 30 years, it was transformed into the stadium as we know it today. Aided by a new flow of fresh creative talent coming into the club, Hibernian defeated Kilmarnock 5-1 to win the 2007 League Cup for the third time. In 2016 Hibernian won the Scottish Cup Final, beating Rangers 3-2 to end a 114-year hiatus from last winning the competition. It’s clear that the turn of the millennium marked a new era for Hibernian, and the club continues to make history and pave the way for Scottish football.

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