top of page

April 19, 2024

The Diamonds sparkle

Inside-right Willie Russell was the double-scoring hero as the Scottish Cup final on April 19, 1924 saw the Diamonds etch their name in the history books.

Airdrieonians travelled to Ibrox Park in Glasgow with Hibernians the opponents in the showpiece final of the 1923/24 Scottish Cup. 60,000 spectators crammed into the Govan stands – and a brace of goals from Russell saw the Diamonds emerge victorious.

The sides had met at Easter Road a week previously, with Hibs winning by two goals to nil, but Airdrie would rewrite the script on Scottish football’s biggest stage.

The Diamonds may have seemed a little bit nervy at the prospect of bringing the silverware back to Lanarkshire ahead of the competition’s 45th renewal but it took a mere 150 seconds for the Airdrieonians to take the lead after Hibernian centre-half Willie Miller conceded an early corner kick.

Veteran Diamonds winger Jimmy Reid, a late fitness doubt for the big game, swung over the corner and his delivery found the head of Airdrie’s right-half Tommy Preston, who rose high to flick the ball on for inside-forward Russell to shake off his marker Dornan and stoop to head home past keeper Harper, who remained rooted to his line.

Hibs suffered a major blow a mere ten minutes later. The Edinburgh men’s star man Jamie Dunn, another pre-match injury risk, pulled up lame after a challenge with Jackie McDougall – his ankle injury had clearly not healed properly and the Hibs were effectively left with ten men for the remainder of the game, though the flame-haired forward would still carry a minor threat even with one good leg.

As the half wore on, Airdrie, marshalled as ever by the calming presence of full-backs Dick and McQueen, restricted the Edinburgh side to mainly long-range efforts by Walker, McColl and Dunn which were easily dealt with by goalkeeper Jock Ewart.

Ten minutes from the break the Broomfield side would extend their lead again from the head of Russell.

Hibernian’s Dunn rather cavalierly backheeled a ball towards the vicinity of his right-back McGinnigle, but the defender’s clearance only reached the feet of Airdrieonians Bobby Bennie.

The impressive young left-half drove towards the Hibernian box and flighted a terrific cross across the face of goal, and there was Russell racing in from the right to glance another header past the despairing Harper in goal.

Airdrieonians may have extended their lead even further a minute from the half-time break as rookie Bob McPhail, making only his 12th appearance for the Diamonds after signing from Pollok earlier in the season, raced clear of the Hibs defence, and only a brilliant dive at the big youngster’s feet by Hibs keeper Harper saved the game from spiralling beyond hope for the Edinburgh side.

The Diamonds would head up the steps to the dressing rooms for a well-earned breather, leading by two goals to nil although it hadn’t been a vintage display so far, Willie Orr’s men looking a little nervy on the big occasion and not quite recreating their free-flowing magic.

The Hibees emerged determined after the break and laid siege on the Airdrie goal, but Ewart proved more than a match, good efforts from the men in green’s Walker and Ritchie stinging the keeper’s palms to no avail.

The Edinburgh side’s talisman Dunn did have a further half chance, but the by-now lame striker had to cut on to his unfavoured left foot and his timid effort was easily scooped up by the commanding Airdrieonians keeper Ewart.

Airdrie weathered the storm and settled down again, taking the game to Hibs in the closing stages with Russell, Reid and McPhail all having efforts on their opponents goal. The Diamonds resiliently hung on to bring the famous trophy back to Broomfield for the first time in the club’s history and leave the Edinburgh men wondering what might have been.

Airdrieonians: Ewart; Dick and McQueen; Preston, McDougall and Bennie; Reid, Russell, Gallacher, McPhail and Somerville.

Hibernian: Harper; McGinnigle and Dornan; Kerr, Miller and Shaw; Ritchie, Dunn, McColl, Halligan and Walker.

Referee: Mr Tom Dougray, Bellshill.




bottom of page