Sunday, December 25, 2011

25 December 1875 - The First Edinburgh Derby

On 25 December 1875, Hearts and Hibernian met for the very first time, forming one of the oldest existing rivalries in football.

Hibernian, who had been founded earlier that August, had close connections to Edinburgh's Irish Catholic population, with all players required to be members of the Catholic Young Men's Society. And they drew their name from the Roman name for Ireland. As a result, they faced sectarian isolation from many other clubs in the country, with the Scottish Football Association announcing "We are catering for Scotsmen, not Irishmen."

Fellow Edinburgh club Hearts, founded one year earlier, were the first to cross the sectarian divide, meeting Hibs at the Meadows on Christmas Day 1875 for a friendly. And, despite playing with only 8 players for the first 20 minutes, Hearts were rewarded with a 1-0 victory.

Since then, Hearts have enjoyed the better part of the derby, winning a total of 276 matches, including five of the last six. Hibs, meanwhile, have won the derby 200 times, with 142 draws.

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