Thousands of Irish families settled in the Cowgate after the Great Famine. Hibs were founded in 1875 to give young Irishmen a sense of purpose and to raise money for the community’s poor. They applied to join the Scottish Football Association but were denied entry on the grounds that they were Irish.
The club persisted and were eventually allowed to join the Scottish League. By the 1880s, Hibs were a major force in Scottish football, becoming the first team from the East of the country to win the Scottish Cup in 1887. This inspired Celtic Football Club to set up with similar aims for the Catholic Irish in Glasgow.
On Christmas Day in 1875, Heart of Midlothian agreed to play against Hibernian in the Meadows. This was the first Edinburgh Derby and the Hibs/Hearts rivalry continues to this day. We will cover the history of Heart of Midlothian in a future article.
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And Hibernian’s much-loved song: