THE PLAYERS

 

Players to wear the green and white of the Hibees.

Here is a growing collection of players and internationalists to feature for Hibernian throughout the years.

Position Striker

It would be almost unthinkable these days for Hibs to sign a player from Barcelona, particularly a fans' favourite who was bought to replace Diego Maradona and only two years previously had played in the European Cup Final, but that's what happened in 1988.

 

Steve Archibald Profile

 

National team Scotland
International debut 26th March 1980 (versus Portugal)

 

If that wasn't unusual enough, Hibs beat off a late bid from Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool to secure his signature.

No-one doubted Steve Archibald's ability which he had proved at Clyde, Aberdeen, Spurs and Barcelona, not to mention Scotland, but it was only after seeing the striker at close quarters that Hibs supporters realised exactly how good he was.

Often he looked disinterested which seemed to lull defenders into a false sense of security, but the fans soon discovered that he was just conserving energy and waiting to pounce when the ball inevitably fell to his feet. His first touch was exquisite and his finishing instinctive.

In short, the man oozed class on and off the field, always immaculately turned out whilst driving top of the range cars, including a gold coloured Rolls Royce.

Born in Rutherglen on 27 September 1956, Steve started out with local clubs Crofoot United and Fernhill Athletic before being spotted by Stan Anderson at Clyde for whom he played part time whilst working as a mechanic.

When Celtic legend Billy McNeil took over the manager's role at Shawfield, he quickly spotted Steve's potential, and when he moved to Aberdeen two months later, he wasted no time in bringing him to Pittodrie for a bargain fee of £20,000. With Clyde, Steve played mainly in midfield, but at Aberdeen he played up front and formed an impressive partnership with striking partner and ex Hibs star Joe Harper.

Steve's career with the Dons started brightly, scoring twice in a 3-0 win over Rangers at Ibrox in his third game, but he was soon to encounter another manager when McNeil returned to Celtic. That manager was Alex Ferguson who brought Pat Stanton in as his number two, and Steve's career went from strength to strength.

At Aberdeen, Steve won five Scotland Under 21 caps, and under Fergie, played a major role in the club's first league title win for 25 years, scoring the opening goal in the 3-1 win over Celtic at Parkhead which blew the league race wide open, then scoring the opening goal in the game which sealed the title; a 5-0 win over relegated Hibs at Easter Road in 1980.

During that campaign, Steve's form brought him to the attention wealthier clubs, and in the summer of 1980 he signed for Tottenham Hotspurs in the English top division for a reported £800,000, a huge fee at the time.

Steve was an instant hit at White Hart Lane and quickly established himself as a favourite with the Spurs' faithful, forming a lethal partnership with Garth Crooks. His arrival at Spurs coincided with a golden era of trophies for the club who won two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup during his four year spell in north London.

He also played in a League Cup final defeat to Liverpool although Steve did manage to achieve a lifelong ambition by scoring the opening goal at Wembley.

Such was his popularity with the Spurs' faithful, Steve even had his own song at White Hart Lane "We'll Take More Care of You, Archibald, Archibald" (to the tune of the British Airways advertisement of the time) as he celebrated every goal with his distinctive arm in the air, cuff gripped in hand a la Denis Law. It was a common sound, as in 189 appearances for Spurs, Steve scored an impressive 77 goals.

Steve won his first Scotland cap whilst playing for Aberdeen scoring on his debut in a 4-1 win over Portugal, and went on to represent his country 27 times, scoring 4 goals. Former Hibs boss Jock Stein selected Steve for his Spain 1982 World Cup squad, and he came on as a 62nd minute substitute in the Scots 5-2 win over New Zealand, scoring the fifth with ten minutes left.

 

Steve Archibald 2

Steve Archibald scoring Scotland's fifth against New Zealand in 1982

 

He played 90 minutes in the following game against Brazil, which Scotland lost 1-4, and also played in the 2-2 draw with Russia which saw Scotland narrowly fail to progress to the knock out stages.

Steve left White Hart Lane on a high, scoring in the penalty shootout win over Anderlecht, before sealing a move to Barcelona, then managed by Terry Venables, to replace Argentinian superstar Diego Maradona, who moved to Napoli. Despite having such big boots to fill, Steve once again, won the hearts of the Barcelona fans with his distinctive style of play, and scoring on his debut in a 3-0 away win over Real Madrid didn't hurt.

At the Nou Camp, Steve contributed to the club's first La Liga title in 11 years and helped them reach the Holy Grail of the European Cup Final the following year. Unfortunately, a defensive minded Steaua Bucharest held on for a 0-0 draw before taking the trophy on penalties, denying Steve the ultimate club prize.

After scoring 24 goals in 55 games, Steve fell out of favour due to unfortunate circumstances with restrictions on playing foreigners meant that Steve fell beneath Gary Lineker and Mark Hughes in the manager's pecking order although certainly not in the fans'.

Steve moved on loan to Blackburn where he had a decent, if unspectacular, season, before Alex Miller, with the backing of David Duff and Jim Gray shocked the whole of Scottish football by bringing him to Easter Road, despite interest from Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool.

On 17 August 1988, Steve made his Hibs debut two months shy of his thirty second birthday, as a substitute, scoring twice in a 4-0 League Cup win over Stranraer. His presence made an immediate impact with Hibs who lost only once in his first ten games.

Ask any Hibs fan to name their favourite 'Steve Archibald' moment and you will get a unanimous vote. On 12 November 1988, Hibs travelled to Tynecastle to play Hearts. Hibs hadn't won against Hearts in Gorgie for nearly twenty years and even though Alex Miller's men were in good form, sitting in fourth place, four places above their city rivals, the fans travelled more in hope than expectation. In the 15th minute, Paul Kane gave Hibs the lead with a superb header, but as the fans were still celebrating, big Gordon Rae was sent off.

Despite being down to ten men, Hibs controlled the game and never looked to be in any trouble. With seven minutes remaining, a long overhead kick from Paul Kane found Steve with only Dave McPherson between him and the goal. Such odds never troubled Steve and he easily held off McPherson before striking a superb left foot shot passed Henry Smith into the bottom right hand corner of the net. The fact that the goal came at the Gorgie Road end, which in those days housed the Hibs fans, made it even sweeter and as the soaking wet supporters celebrated in the rain, Steve stood with arm raised allowing photographers to snap the iconic image.

Typically, Hibs made the fans sweat when McPherson scored in injury time, but it was Steve's finest moment in a Hibs jersey, although there were many others. A few weeks earlier, Steve had grabbed a double against Alan Rough in a famous 3-1 win against Celtic at Easter Road, and a few weeks later helped Hibs beat Hearts again, this time at Easter Road in the New Year's derby.

Steve's presence helped Hibs reach toe Scottish Cup Semi-Final which was played at Hampden Park on the day after the Hillsborough disaster. A subdued crowd saw Hibs lose three first half goals, and although Steve pulled one back, the game ended in defeat.

Steve's sixteen goals that season helped Hibs to qualify for the UEFA cup where they beat Videoton 3-0 in Hungary, although Steve started the game on the bench and only made a late appearance.

Steve continued his fine record against Hearts, scoring Hibs goal in the 1-1 draw at Easter Road, but his days in the green and white were numbered after a personality clash with Alex Miller, and he played his last game for the club on 6 January 1990 in a 0-0 draw at home to Dundee United.

Later that month, Hibs were due to play Motherwell at Fir Park in a midweek game. When Steve learned that he had not been selected, he was reported to have left the stadium and hailed a taxi back to Edinburgh.

After leaving Hibs, Steve returned to Barcelona, for a short spell with city rivals Espanyol before he returned to Scotland to play for St. Mirren, alongside Spanish legend Victor Munoz.

After a year in Paisley, Steve returned to former club Clyde but struggled to get into the team before moving to Fulham where he also failed to make much of an impact. He subsequently returned to Scotland, with East Fife where he played, coached and managed the club, helping them to promotion to the first division during his two years in Methil. He eventually hung up his boots when he was sacked by East Fife after a run of poor form in 1996, although he did play a final game for Irish side Home Farm.

On leaving football, Steve became a players' agent specialising in the Spanish market. He was appointed an executive director at Benfica in Portugal in 1998 and led a takeover to rescue Airdrie. The administrators allowed Steve to take control of the club as acting manager where he impressed supporters with his tactics and foreign imports who he brought in, mainly a contingent of Spaniards, however the deal fell through and the club went out of business.

On 15 November 2009, Steve was inducted into the Scottish Football's Hall of Fame.

 


 

Full name Steven Archibald
Date of birth 27th September 1956
Place of birth Glasgow, Scotland
Height 5ft 11in

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