From There… To Here

The social history of Wester Hailes

WHEN ALEX WAS THE MAN

Hibs are looking for a new manager, Hearts are up for sale and neither are anywhere near challenging the Old Firm in the league this season – top flight football in Edinburgh is not exactly in the best of health.

Today we’re going to take a quick peek back twenty two years when season 1989-90 was just about to get underway and a certain Alex Miller was in charge at Hibs. Interviewed by the Sentinel under the hopeful headline of “ONWARDS AND UPWARDS”, his assessment of how his team was likely to do was pretty cautious:

“It’s going to be very difficult…We think we’ve seen an improvement at Easter Road, but the club cannot be turned round in two years. I feel there was a lack of ambition here before, but we have built a good foundation to build on.”

Then he was asked who he thought would be the key players for Hibs in the season ahead:

“I would look for John Collins doing more. He was a young boy with potential, but he is not a young boy anymore. He has got to take games by the scruff of the neck and make things happen. I would also look for quite a lot from Keith Houchen. He is now looking very strong and I would like to see him doing well this season.”

And the top players in the SPL?

“Our goalkeeper Andy Goram is the best in Scotland. He’s been a magnificent buy for this club in terms of attitude as well as ability. In defence, the Miller-McLeish pairing at Aberdeen is so strong. As far as midfield is concerned, Paul McStay is the best and up front Maurice Johnston is a striker who knows what the game is about.”

Andy Goram, Willie Miller, Alex McLeish, Paul McStay, Maurice Johnstone: a roll call of great players that does seem to support the view that the 2011 version of the Scottish game contains nothing like the quality it did more than two decades ago.

But who knows what the future will bring. Whether the new Hibs Manager is Pat Fenlon or Michael O’Neill or Billy Brown maybe this will be the year Hibs finally win the Scottish Cup again…maybe homegrown players of true class will again feature in the SPL…and maybe Vlad will agree to sell Hearts to a supporters consortium for the price of one penny!

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