Date: 27th September 2007 at 9:31pm
Written by:

Well this was a difficult one to choose a classic from the past. I’m sure though all the Hibees will support the decision to look back at the CIS Insurance Cup Final played on the 18th of March this year!!

A truly horrific day weather wise refused to dampen the enthusiasm of 52000 hardy souls who braved the sleet and snow to bring a carnival atmosphere to the National Stadium.

An estimated 35000 of those who turned up were bedecked in the green and white colours of their heroes as Hibs went searching for their first major silverware in some 16 years.

In 1991 Dunfermline had been defeated 2-0 with strikes from Tommy McIntyre and Keith Wright sending the Leith side home with the Skol Cup as it was known then.

Expectation levels amongst both sets of fans were high given that both sides were pretty evenly matched.

Rival managers John Collins and Jim Jeffries were also expecting a close encounter and the Hibs fans were hoping Jeffries managerial experience was not to be an advantage on the day. Collins on the other hand had only been in his position for a period of 5 months and rumours of discontent amongst the players were prevalent even prior to this massive game. The suggestion was the squad were unhappy with Collins and Assistant Boss Tommy Craig’s training regime. As we know a player revolt only ended with the ringleaders sold off in the summer months.

As Captain Rob Jones led out the Hibs side prior to kick off the noise levels within the Stadium were nearing deafening levels. The green and white army which had followed the club through thick and thin urging their club on to be heroes.

After a nervous opening it was Killie who had the first half chance of the game, Andrew McNeil tipping a Naismith effort over the bar. Inevitably chances were few and far between but it was Hibs who did take the lead on 28 minutes.

Rob Jones who until that point had been magnificent wrote himself into Hibernian folklore by heading home powerfully from David Murphy’s corner. The Hibees support went crazy as the ball flew past the helpless Combe, the Kilmarnock keeper.

Urged on by the large following and with confidence soaring from taking the lead Hibs pressurised Killie for the remainder of the first half.

Steven Fletcher was denied twice – one a low drive which ended up wide and another which was deflected wide by his own player, Ivan Sproule.

As the second half kicked off Hibs had only 9 players on the park as both David Murphy and Rob Jones were late returning from their half time break.

The second half was similar to the opening stages of the first half with no real chances being created but on 59 minutes the Capital club went two ahead.

In a moment of magic from Moroccan Abdessallam Benjelloun he tormented the Killie centre half with the swivel of his hips and curled an outstanding effort past the keeper.

The Hibs fans began to party as it looked increasingly sure the Cup was returning to Easter Road for the third time. Their cause for optimism grew merely seven minutes later when Steven Fletcher added a third.

A lovely passage of play saw Fletcher combine with Benji and fired in a sweet left footed strike past the blameless Combe.

Give Kilmarnock credit as they never gave up the final without a fight and they grabbed a goal back on 77 through Gordon Greer to set up an anxious last 13 minutes for the large support from Leith.

It was though to prove a false dawn for the Ayrshire club as Hibs promptly added a fourth with 6 minutes remaining to calm all nerves and start a green and white party in the East End of Glasgow.

Benji once again showed his trickery and slammed home a right footed drive and the match was effectively over.

Life-long Hibee Alan Combe had been unlucky in the Killie goal as all of Hibs finishes for the goals had been sublime but the keeper erred badly just 2 minutes later with a dreadful mis kick to hand Fletcher his second of the match and Hibs fifth.

Hibs Hampden hoodoo had been buried with an emphatic victory and the scenes of jubilation at full time said it all.

After the presentation a 35000 strong rendition of ‘Sunshine On Leith’ echoed around the Old Stadium and brought tears of joy to Hibees fans the world over.

The teams on this occasion were as follows :-

Kilmarnock: Combe, Frazer Wright, Greer, Ford, Hay, Di Giacomo (Locke 76), Johnston, Fowler, Leven (Wales 57), Nish, Naismith.
Subs Not Used: Smith, Murray, O’Leary. Booked: Hay, Di Giacomo.

Goal: Greer 77.

Hibernian: McNeil, Whittaker (Martis 90), Hogg (McCann 90), Jones, Murphy, Sproule (Zemmama 79), Scott Brown, Beuzelin, Stevenson, Benjelloun, Fletcher.
Subs Not Used: Simon Brown, Stewart.

Goals: Jones 28, Benjelloun 59, Fletcher 66, Benjelloun 85, Fletcher 87.

Att: 52,000

Ref: D McDonald