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Caught in Time: Hearts win 1956 Scottish Cup

Martin Greig Sunday Times 15th June 2003

When Hearts lifted the Scottish Cup in 1956, for the first time in 50 years, it was a landmark in the club’s history and also for Scottish football. Their 3-1 victory over Celtic, in front of 133,399 fans at Hampden Park, reflected the more general shift in the balance of power from Glasgow to Edinburgh during the 1950s.
The greatest Hearts team of all time, which included their famous “terrible trio” strikeforce of Willie Bauld, Jimmy Wardhaugh and Alfie Conn — who were all signed for a total of £200 — had lifted the League Cup the season before and would go on to win it on another two occasions in the same decade, while the League title was captured in 1958 and 1960.

Fred Glidden, the Hearts captain that historic day in 1956, remembers the appreciation of his side’s achievements shown by both sides of the Old Firm divide.

“The Celtic fans applauded us out of Glasgow (after the Scottish Cup victory) as we went back through to Edinburgh the Rangers boys were on their way back from playing Hibs,” recalled Glidden. “They were on the top of the bus applauding us too.

“That was novel and I think they probably just appreciated seeing good football. They had an open-top bus waiting for us at Corstorphine when we came back, and we all got on. The bus couldn’t get along Princes Street because the crowds were so dense. It was quite an occasion.”

However, Glidden’s most enduring memory of the 1956 final is John Cumming, his defensive colleague, clashing with Willie Fernie of Celtic. “They jumped to head the same ball and John had a gash about three inches long on his forehead.

“He was lying on the ground and John was a bloke who never lay on the ground, so if he wasn’t going to get up then he was really injured. I looked at him and, seeing this gash down his forehead, I thought, ‘God, he’s never coming back’.

“At that time you played with 10 men and had no reserves or substitutes that you could bring on. This happened just before half-time, and we came back out after the break with 10 men thinking, ‘This is going to be a really tough second half’. But 10 minutes after half-time, who comes running back on to the park but John Cumming. The first thing that happened was a big long ball came down the middle of the park and John jumped and headed it. That was the kind of spirit that we had in the side.

“The great Hearts team of that time was just something that evolved. In the early 50s, we played Motherwell three times in the semi-final of the League Cup and that was probably the start of the good team. We went on a tour of South Africa in 1955 and we all got to know each other a bit better. Certain things just happen and that was one of them. You could have a team with 11 great players but they didn’t get on with each other.

“I don’t think there was the same serious approach to football in those days. You played for the enjoyment, and played as hard as you could, but if you were beaten, then too bad. You didn’t have the sort of pressure on players that there is now.” [The numbers refer to a photograph, which is not carried on the website].

1 Willie Duff
The goalkeeper started his career at Dunfermline before establishing himself as No 1 at Tynecastle. He was between the sticks for the 1956 Scottish Cup final against Celtic and was involved in the Parkhead side’s controversial consolation goal, when it was claimed that Mike Haughney elbowed the ball out of his arms. He joined Charlton Athletic after leaving Hearts and, following his retirement from football, he took up lawn bowls with considerable success. Duff moved to the United States in 1985. He started a construction company there after deciding to make his stay permanent during a trip to visit his son.

2 Tam McKenzie Just as John Greig built his esteemed reputation on being the only defender who could get close enough to kick Jimmy Johnstone, so McKenzie became renowned for his neutralising effect on Gordon Smith, the famous Hibs winger. The uncompromising left-back became an expert in snuffing out the threat posed by his Easter Road opponent and was not unaccustomed to sending his opposite number spinning over the wall and into the enclosure. He died in 1967 in his early fifties after suffering a heart attack at the wheel of his car.

3 Willie Bauld The centre-forward with the choirboy looks struck fear into the hearts of Hibs fans with his goal-scoring exploits. Christened the “King of Hearts” by the supporters, he was famed for his aerial ability. He burst on to the scene in style, scoring a hat-trick on his debut against East Fife, the then-Scottish Cup holders, in 1948. He repeated the feat a week later against Queen of the South. He scored 355 goals in 510 appearances for the Tynecastle club and collected three Scotland caps. Bauld died in 1977, aged 50, and he and John Robertson are the only two Hearts players to have functions suite at Tynecastle named after them.

4 Jimmy Wardhaugh
Signed from Shaftesbury Park and scored the opener in a 3-2 win over Celtic on his debut in 1946. Wardhaugh, also a good rugby and cricket player who was known for his physical fitness, still holds the club’s all-time goalscoring record (although John Robertson broke his League goals record in 1998). In 517 appearances, he scored a remarkable 376 goals, but left Tynecastle under a cloud in 1962 after his testimonial against Sheffield United. The club deducted the price of the match ball and other expenses from his testimonial cheque and the striker refused to return to Tynecastle, even to watch a match, for 12 years. Wardhaugh died in January 1978, aged 48, less than a year after Bauld.

5 Fred Glidden Glidden had taken over the captaincy earlier in the season in the absence of Bobby Parker, who was sidelined after a cartilage operation. He was a big powerful centre-half in his prime, and played for Hearts part-time while holding down a job with West Lothian Council. Now 75, Glidden still plays golf regularly at Ratho Park Golf Club, and was recently invited to attend an annual meeting of the Hearts supporters club in Manchester where he bumped into two former teammates, Dave Mackay and Bobby Kirk.

6 Alex Young
The “Golden Boy” of Tynecastle in the fifties. After an illustrious career with Hearts, Young moved to Everton and remains a firm favourite on Merseyside.
He made his debut for Everton against Dave Mackay’s Spurs — Mackay had also left Hearts for the bright lights of England’s Division One. Young played in the victorious Everton team which lifted the FA Cup in 1967, when they beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-2. He also won the League title with Everton in 1963 and won eight Scotland caps, playing for Glentoran and Stockport after leaving Goodison Park. His son, Jason, signed for Hearts in 1988 and went on to play for Livingston and Stranraer.

7 Ian Crawford Scored two goals in the 1956 final (Conn scored the other, with Mike Haughney replying for Celtic). He joined Hearts in 1955 and played on the left wing at Hampden, emerging as one of the star performers. He went on to play for West Ham United and Peterborough and now lives in the south of England. He sold his medals eight years ago in an auction.

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