Change Is Bad, no. 2 – Celtic v Hibernian, 1989

  • Credit to The Celtic Wiki for having the relevant information for us to work with

As we mentioned in the piece on Newcastle United’s Asics kits, a ‘classic’ striped or hooped shirt can be worn against a full kit in either of the stripe colours – once the opposition’s kit is a solid block. Newcastle were able to wear their home kit away to all-white Leeds United in 1994-95, while the same shirt, with white shorts and socks, also worked away to Wimbledon, who were all-navy.

Which brings us to Celtic and Hibernian, two Scottish clubs with Irish roots and who both wear green and white as a result. Nowadays, in an era where teams change as much as they can, the away side changes when they meet – and there have been instances where both have – but until as recently as 1991-92, there were games where both clubs wore their home kits.

December 1972 is the first example we have of Celtic wearing a change kit against Hibs – manager Jock Stein felt there was too much green and white on show and the Bhoys wore all-yellow at Celtic Park (in Scotland, the home team changed when a clash arose at the time). Perhaps this was a reaction to Celtic losing the league cup final to Hibs shortly beforehand with both in home kits, but their later meetings that season saw both back in traditional colours.

In the mid-1980s, Celtic began to change again against Hibs, but even then there was inconsistency – in September 1985, they wore yellow at Easter Road in the league cup but three days later for a league game they were back in hoops, albeit with green socks as Hibs had white first-choice pairs back then.

From the summer of 1987, Hibernian partnered with adidas and for the next six seasons their change strips would be white shirts and green shorts – far from ideal when Celtic were their only real clash. Adding to the madness, Celtic had a white and green change kit which couldn’t be used at Hibs or against teams with a lot of white like Dunfermline Athletic, St Mirren or Airdrie.

When Hibs visited Celtic, they changed to green shorts but then, for some reason in May 1989, they opted to wear their white change shirts and green shorts with the green home socks as Celtic’s were white.

Now, there are those who look at kits as three separate elements, and who feel that once each team has each element in a different colour to the opposition, everything is fine.

This match-up kind of ticks those boxes, but in practice it didn’t work – there was too much of a mesh of green and white – so much so that complaints from the players led to Hibs changing from their away shirts to the home set.

That sounds counter-intuitive but it created a block of green while Celtic’s shorts and socks made for a white overall look for them, and the sleeves were distinguishable too.

Not the best solution in the world, but the best available at the time.

4 comments on “Change Is Bad, no. 2 – Celtic v Hibernian, 1989

  1. Andy Webster (@Simplyton)

    Be interesting to see how this one plays out this season at Easter Road

    Celtic usually change for a trip to the capital but away kit is more of clash than home and its questionable whether luminous green 3rd kit is an improvement.

  2. Neil

    Celtic’s third kit this season is grey and pink, so if the away is considered unsuitable, and I’m not even sure that would be the case, the third kitshould be fine


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