London Hearts Supporters Club

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George Burley <-auth Anthony Haggerty auth-> Craig Thomson
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20 of 021 Rudi Skacel 40 ;Edgaras Jankauskas 70 L SPL H


Trip to Glasgow doesn't scare Edinburgh clubs
By Anthony Haggerty


IF Hearts and Hibs need inspiration in their quest to win back Scottish football's power base they need only look to the history books.

It is 45 years since a team from Edinburgh waltzed off with the big prize but the challenge to the Old Firm from down the M8 has never looked healthier than right now.

Hibs thumped Rangers 3-0 at Ibrox on Saturday to send their old rivals Hearts five points clear at the top of the SPL.

Two men watching developments with interest are Alex Young and Eddie Turnbull, who played in the last Hearts and Hibs sides to capture the Scottish League crown.

Young was a member of the Jambos team that won two titles in the space of three years in 1957-58 and again in 1959-6 before being transferred to Everton in 1960.

The 68-year-old insists it would be magnificent for Scottish football if Hearts or Hibs sustained their current form throughout the whole campaign.

Young said: "It would be refreshing to see the likes of Hearts or Hibs win the championship as it would relieve the boredom of the Old Firm constantly landing the big one.

"That would shake Scottish football to its foundationsandthat is whatourgameneeds"For many years people in the east have craved that either Hearts or Hibs mount a serious challenge and I believe this could finally be the year.

"Hearts won the title twice when I played at Tynecastle between 1955 and 1960 and we finished second on most other occasions.

"It was only a few years previous to that when Hibs had been the dominant force in the country during the era of the Famous Five.

"During my time at Tynecastle clubs like Hearts and Hibs would regularly go to places like Parkhead and Ibrox and win matches. Back then we felt we had a chance every time we went through to Glasgow.

"Hearts and Hibs would travel to Glasgow and sometimes we were the favourites to win.

"In the past few years Hearts and Hibs had more or less given up the ghost at Celtic Park and Ibrox but that is no longer the case and we are now seeing them have a real go at the Old Firm. Nobody is more delighted about that than me."

And Young credits both sides' resurgence to the fact both capital teams have top managers at the helm. He added: "Hearts have been nothing short of impressive this season. All the foreigners have adapted quickly and played against the Old Firm with absolutely no fear. Hibs have a team full of talented youngsters with no respect for the reputation of the Old Firm,as we saw at Ibrox on Saturday.

"I like the look of both George Burley and Tony Mowbray as they have taught their teams good habits and they possess real quality players.

"Many are predicting the September 24 game between Hearts and Rangers at Tynecastle could be a potential league decider but that is complete nonsense as the league is won in May not September.

"The key to winning championships is focusing on the next game and not getting too far ahead of yourselves.

"Hearts are at the top of the SPL on merit and it is up to the others, including Celtic and Rangers, to displace them."

Turnbull was a member of the Hibs side that won the league three times and finished runners-up three times from 1947 to 1952.

Whilst Turnbull agrees there has been a resurgence in the east he reckons the OId Firm are not as invincible as they once were and believes the Edinburgh clubs have to take full advantage while they can.

He said: "There is a resurgence within both the Edinburgh teams. Edinburgh is buzzing because of Hearts and Hibs.

"Both clubs can take enormous heart from the fact the Old Firm are not impregnable and can be beaten both home and away. They are ordinary teams and neither are what you would call a class side.

"There has been massive excitement created by Hearts and Hibs' respective starts to the season and both clubs can go far.

"But we are only five games in and it will be difficult to sustain such a challenge over the whole season.

"Injuries and loss of form for either Edinburgh club could play a massive part in where they finish up.

"It would be fantastic to think a club in the east could finally break the domestic stranglehold of the clubs in the west of Scotland.

"The Old Firm dominate the papers, TV and radio and it is magnificent to see Hearts and Hibs share that limelight for once.

"I would be absolutely delighted if one of them could go on and lift the SPL title. The Scottish game has been crying out for a challenge to the Old Firm like this for ages

Taken from the Daily Record

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