Celebrating 100 years of ‘the Hibs’

The first known picture of Thornton Hibs
The first known picture of Thornton Hibs

They started as a juvenile side just before the First World War, joined the junior ranks in the hungry 30s and have won most of the honours the game at that level can offer.

And on Saturday, Thornton Hibs will reach the milestone of their centenary.

In actual fact, it will be 100 years and one day since the Memorial Park team first took to the field.

In their juvenile days - which lasted from 1913 to 1935 - ‘the Hibs’ recorded a clean sweep of the available cups, with the sole exception of the ‘Scottish’, although they did reach the final of the national competition in 1931, but lost to Blairhall following a replay at Dunfermline’s East End Park.

The green and whites’ trophy-winning habit continued after they ascended to the juniors and won the Fife Cup at the first time of asking, following that success with Fife League (East), East Fife Cup and Cowdenbeath Cup triumphs before the outbreak of World War Two.

The immediate post-war years were less successful and although Hibs won the West Fife and League Cups in season 1951-52, there were fears over the club’s future which were thankfully dispelled when a new committee was established and the team went on to celebrate their re-birth with a league championship the following season. In 1958-59, Hibs repeated that feat and also added the Mitchell and Fife cups to the trophy cabinet.

Those performances laid the groundwork for Hibs’ first appearance in a Scottish Junior Cup semi-final in 1960, a Fife derby against St Andrews United in front of 15,411 spectators at Stark’s Park which ended in a 1-1 draw - the replay was lost 2-1 and winning both the Cowdenbeath and West Fife Cups was little consolation to Hibs in the circumstances.

Hibs recorded their last Cowdenbeath Cup victory in 1962-63 and last Mitchell Cup triumph the following season, but back-to-back East Fife Cup victories in 1967-68 and 1968-69, when the league title was also added made at least part of the 1960s swing.

In 1972-73, Hibs defeated local rivals Glenrothes to win the League Cup, clinched the ‘Fife’ again in 1974-1975 and the Drybrough in 1977-1978, but the following decade was almost out before Hibs ended a 10 season trophy drought with the Second Division title.

Peddie, Smith, Maloco sponsored Fife Cup wins were recorded in 1995-1996 and 1997-1998 and the league title was won in 2003-2004, allowing the club’s first crack at the East Super League, although the campaign ended in relegation.

Hibs reached the semi-final of the ‘Scottish’ again in 2007-2008, but fell victim to a series of controversial decisions in the match against Cumnnock, which ended in a 3-0 defeat.

Two season later, Hibs clinched what, to date, has been their final honour, the Central Division title.