1910-1920 Dundee Hibernian
The Scottish Football League
After just one season in the Northern League, Dundee Hibernian were given a second chance to gain entry into the Scottish League set up when Second Division clubs Ayr FC and Ayr Parkhouse merged together to form Ayr United, leaving one League position available. Throughout the Hibs' inaugural season, Club Secretary Pat Reilly had lobbied on his clubs behalf at every opportunity, and in May 1910 he sent letters to all Scottish League clubs stating a case for Dundee Hibernian to be allowed to join the League, highlighting the facilities at Tannadice and the lack of debt that the club had. He must have made a positive impression, because at the Scottish League's AGM on 7 June 1910, the Hibs, contrary to expectations, were elected ahead of more established clubs like St Johnstone and Dunfermline.
Although others were involved, Pat Reilly was without doubt the driving force behind the founding and establishment of Dundee Hibernian, his inspiration and determination being primarily responsible for the club gaining membership of the Scottish League. No other club since the formation of the League had gained admission within a year of being formed. It was an astonishing feat and it ensured that Dundee Hibs had a foundation secure enough to enable it to consolidate both on and off the park. Dundee Hibs joined Abercorn, Albion Rovers, Arthurlie, Cowdenbeath, Dumbarton, East Stirlingshire, Leith Athletic, Port Glasgow Athletic, St Bernards, Vale of Leven and the newly formed Ayr United as members of the 1910-11 Scottish Second Division.
Only five players were kept on from the previous season as Reilly rebuilt the playing squad for the step up to the Scottish League. Boland, Docherty, Yule, Timmons and Carroll were all re-signed, and James Loney returned for a second season on loan from Clyde. Full back William Welsh was brought in from Hearts, with George Fyfe and and John Collins signed from Hibs. Centre back John Robertson arrived from Arthurlie, centre forwards James O'Gara from Clapton Orient and William Swan from Arbroath, Airdrieonians goalkeeper Bill Montieth and ex-Chelsea left back Tommy Miller was signed on loan from Falkirk.
The Hibs had also been re-elected to the Northern League for the 1910-11 season, and the club continued to play in that League's fixtures along side the Second Division matches, although usually fielding a reserve side. The Dundee Hibs 'A' side continued to play in the Northern League for a few seasons , but it was still an ongoing problem trying to find dates for the fixtures and the competition eventually faded away.
Dundee Hibs versus Leith Athletic in a Scottish League match
Dundee Hibernian's first match in the Scottish League was a Second Division match against Leith Athletic at Tannadice on the 20th August 1910. New arrival John Collins scored twice for the home side, but with eight new players in the team they looked disjointed at times, and the more organised team from Edinburgh won the match 3-2.
The team that day: Tullis, Welsh, Miller, Loney, Robertson, Boland, T. Collins, O'Gara, Fyfe, Yule, J. Collins.
After losing their next game to another Edinburgh based club - beaten 4-3 by St Bernards at the Royal Gymnasium ground - Dundee Hibs went on an incredible run of seven unbeaten matches.
A 4-1 win over Abercorn at Tannadice saw William Swan become the clubs first ever player to score a hat-trick, and with victories over Cowdenbeath, Port Glasgow, Arthurlie & Abercorn, and draws with Albion Rovers and Vale of Leven, the Hibs were sitting third in the Division at the half way stage. However, a nine game run without a win saw them plummet down the table. During this time, manager Pat Reilly brought in ten new signings to help put an end to the the bad run, with left back James Izatt arriving from the Edinburgh Juniors and Irish internationalist Charlie Dunnian coming in after a short spell at Hibernian.
Thankfully, the bad run was stopped with a 1-0 win over Division leaders Albion Rovers, with James O'Gara scoring the only goal of the match at Tannadice, and a 4-1 win over Port Glasgow at Tannadice - where Dunnian scored a hat-trick on his debut - and a 0-0 draw with East Stirlingshire was enough to see Hibs survive their first season in the Scottish League. It was close though, with Dundee Hibs being one of five clubs who had all finished at the bottom on 19 points - goal difference kept the club having to go through the process of having to be re-elected into the League.
The Forfarshire Cup
During the early days of Scottish Football, the latter half of the season was dominated by regional cup competitions, and were taken very seriously by the teams involved. After receiving a bye in the 1st Round of the 1911 Forfarshire Cup, Dundee Hibs faced Montrose at Tannadice in the semi-final at the start of March 1911, where the men in green won through to the final with a 4-0 victory.
The final was held three weeks later at Dens Park, where the importance of the county cup competition at the time can be gauged by the record crowd for a Forfarshire Cup final, 7000, with special trains laid on to convoy the Arbroath support to Dundee. In a closely fought match, a second half Charlie Dunnian goal was enough to see Dundee Hibernian win their second piece of silverware in as many seasons, and the Forfarshire Cup came to Tannadice for the first time.
Survival in the Second Division
The next two seasons in the Second Division panned out very similar to the first, as Dundee Hibs fought to keep their place in the Scottish League. There was no automatic promotion/relegation at the time, but clubs who finished bottom were reliant on being re-elected by the other clubs to keep their place in the League. The 1911-12 season saw the Hibs finish just 2 points away from bottom club Albion Rovers, and the 1912-13 season they finished 4 points above the bottom spot.
As was the norm for clubs in this era of Scottish Football, there was a huge turnover in playing staff, with only a handful of players re-signing for a second or third season. Several notable Dunde Hibs players signed for the club during the first few years in the Second Division. Jock Low (an outside right signed from Forfar Athletic who was signed in May 1911), George Forbes (a left back who crossed the road from Dens Park in June 1912) and Ned MacDonald (a former Arbroath inside right who arrived at Tannadice in December 1912) all became vital members of the first team squad, making approximately 80 appearances each over the next three seasons.
Forward WILLIE LINN, who signed from Dundee North End in November 1911, went on to make 129 appearances for the club - the most for any player during the Dundee Hibs era - and scored 33 goals in his 6 years at Tannadice. He became the first player at the club to receive a benefit for his services.
The 1911-12 Forfarshire Cup produced a major talking point, when Dundee Hibs were drawn against Dundee 'A', the Dark Blues reserve side, at Dens Park in the semi finals. After several attempts to agree a date failed, Hibs threatened to claim the tie. When the match finally went ahead, it finished in a bad tempered 2-2 draw and required a replay. However, Dundee protested that Hibs player Andrew Richardson, who had been signed three months before from Our Boys Blairgowrie, should not have played in the match as he should have been cup-tied and they tried to claim the match. The Forfarshire FA instead ordered the replay to be played at Dens Park, depriving Hibs of the home advantage, with Pat Reilly heavily censured and Richardson given a harsh six month ban. The Hibs board were so incensed that they withdrew from the competition in disgust, and the club resigned from Forfarshire membership at the end of the season, although the rift was healed a year later when the Forfarshire FA accepted that the Hibs had been unfairly treated and they were re-elected for membership.
After finally getting past the first round of the Qualifying Cup in 1912-13 - albeit via a bye - Hibs defeated Montrose, Forfar and Broxburn United before eventually meeting Highland League club Inverness Caledonian in the latter stages of the competition. Hibs lost the replay at Tannadice after a draw in the first game in Inverness, but by getting so far in the tournament, the club qualified for the Scottish Cup for the first ever time.
Appropriately, the Clubs first SCOTTISH CUP tie was played at Hampden Park, after the Hibs were drawn away to Queens Park. A special train was put on to transport 1000 fans and the team to Glasgow, where the Hibs found themselves 4-0 down at before Tom Boland scored the clubs first Scottish Cup goal, and David Scrimgeour pulled another back for a final score of 4-2.
Pat Reilly pulled off an incredible signing before the start of the 1913-14 season when he brought former Dundee and Brechin centre forward DAVID 'COLLIE' MARTIN to Tannadice. He made his debut in the opening game against St Johnstone, and went on to star in the Dundee Hibs side, playing in every League match that season, and became the Division's top scorer with 22 goals. Martins goals were a contributing factor to Hibs vastly improved form that season, and they mounted a genuine challenge for the Second Division championship, eventually finishing in third place, just five points behind champions Cowdenbeath.
Two new local cup competitions had come into existence over the past few seasons. The Dewar Shield was presented by Lord Provost Dewar of Perth, and was competed for between the winners of the Aberdeenshire, Forfarshire, Perthshire and Stirlingshire Cups. The Loftus Cup had come into existence following a proposal from the Dundee Hibernian secretary Pat Reilly and a trophy was donated by Dundee baker David Wallace who lived at Loftus House in Broughty Ferry. Dundee Hibs had competed in both competitions over the past three years, and in January 1914 they won the 1912-13 LOFTUS CUP - the tournament had been extended into the following season to allow for fixtures congestion - beating St Johnstone 3-1 in a play-off, with the help of a Martin hat-trick.
Afer doing so well in the previous seasons Qualifying Cup, the club went even further in the 1913-14 season. After gaining revenge over Inverness Caledonian in the semi finals, Hibs faced Albion Rovers in the clubs first ever national cup final, held at Tynecastle Park. Four trains carried the Hibs fans through to Edinburgh for the Qualifying Cup Final in December, where the match ended in a 1-1 draw. The replay a week later also finished in stalemate, and it took a third game seven days later to decide the winners, with the Coatbridge side lifting the trophy after a 3-0 win.
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Pat Reilly stood down as the team's manager to continue in
the role of club secretary, and the board brought in ex-Dundee
F.C. centre half Herbert Dainty as player/manager.
also saw the first-ever derby game with Dundee F.C. when a
friendly match at Dens Park heralded the inaugural meeting
of the two city sides at first team level. Only 4,000 saw
Dundee confirm their superior status of the time by winning
The First World War
of the First World War meant that Dundee Hibs struggled to
survive the inevitable upheaval that the hostilities inflicted
on Scottish Football. In 1915 the Second Division of which
Dundee Hibs were members was abandoned in favour of Regional
Leagues and the Tannadice club operated in the Eastern League
for the duration of the war.
the war, benefit and charity matches were held to fill the
gap in the rather haphazard leagues which then existed, and
Dainty became actively involved in organising teams which
he called 'Dainty's XI' from any footballers who happened
to be stationed in the Tayside or Fife area. Dundee Hibs were
their opponents on several occasions.
Dainty retired from playing in 1918 and Pat Reilly again took up
the joint role of Secretary/Manager - Dainty would later be
co-opted onto the board and eventually became chairman of
Resignation from the League
returned to normality after the War, the Scottish League continued
with an extended First Division and moves to re-introduce
Division Two were defeated. As a protest Dundee Hibs resigned
from the League, the only club to take such action. They returned
to the Eastern League, which they won in 1919/20 after leading
for nearly the entire season.
their exile from the Scottish League was to be short-lived
it was highly eventful. Immediately after successfully re-applying
for League membership in June 1920, the Tannadice side once
again resigned from the League due to the repeated refusal
by the First Division clubs to re-introduce Division Two.
This time, however, it was no unilateral decision. The 16
excluded clubs resigned en bloc, so Dundee Hibernian found
themselves quitting the Scottish League for the second time
in the space of twelve months.