2002–03 Hibernian F.C. season
|Top goalscorer||League: McManus, 11
All: McManus, 11
|Highest home attendance||13686|
|Lowest home attendance||7518|
|Average home league attendance||9937 (down 1666)|
Season 2002–03 was a disappointment for Hibernian, as the team finished in the bottom half of the Scottish Premier League in Bobby Williamson's first full season in charge. The team were also knocked out of the two domestic cup competitions at an early stage. In a preview for the next season, BBC Sport commented that the biggest problem "was a fragile defence that developed a nasty habit of conceding late goals".
Hibs got off to a very poor start to the league season, collecting only three points from a possible 18. This included heavy defeats by Hearts and Dunfermline. Former Hibs player Ulrik Laursen commented in the match programme for his new club, Celtic, that he believed former Hibs manager Alex McLeish (now at Rangers) was to blame for this decline in fortunes, due to his decision to release popular players such as Mixu Paatelainen and Stuart Lovell. Hibs lost the game 1–0 at Celtic Park and remained bottom of the early league table, but fortunes immediately improved, as Hibs won their next five league games in succession.
This revival meant that they were in a good league position going into the third Edinburgh derby of the season, on 2 January, where victory would mean that Hibs would leapfrog Hearts into third place. Hibs twice took a two goal lead, but conceded two goals (both scored by Graham Weir) late in stoppage time to gift Hearts a 4–4 draw. Hibs then lost their next five league games and drifted down the league, eventually finishing in 7th place.
|SPL||Hibernian||1 – 2||Aberdeen||Easter Road, Edinburgh||3 August 2002|
|Luna 31'||Mackie 64'
|SPL||Heart of Midlothian||5 – 1||Hibernian||Tynecastle, Edinburgh||11 August 2002|
de Vries 40'
de Vries 66'
de Vries 90'
de Vries 90'
|Murray 51'||Attendance: 15,245
|SPL||Hibernian||2 – 4||Rangers||Easter Road, Edinburgh||18 August 2002|
|de Boer 6'
Ferguson 45' (pen)
|SPL||Dundee||2 – 1||Hibernian||Dens Park, Dundee||24 August 2002|
|O'Connor 10'||Attendance: 6,411
|SPL||Motherwell||0 – 2||Hibernian||Fir Park, Motherwell||31 August 2002|
|SPL||Hibernian||1 – 4||Dunfermline Athletic||Easter Road, Edinburgh||11 September 2002|
|Paatelainen 42'||Walker 11'
|SPL||Celtic||1 – 0||Hibernian||Celtic Park, Glasgow||14 September 2002|
|Hartson 31'||Attendance: 56,703
|SPL||Hibernian||2 – 0||Kilmarnock||Easter Road, Edinburgh||21 September 2002|
|SPL||Hibernian||1 – 0||Livingston||Easter Road, Edinburgh||28 September 2002|
|Murray 45'||Attendance: 9,541
|SPL||Hibernian||2 – 1||Dundee United||Easter Road, Edinburgh||5 October 2002|
|Thompson 76'||Attendance: 9,175
|SPL||Partick Thistle||0 – 3||Hibernian||Firhill Stadium, Glasgow||19 October 2002|
|SPL||Aberdeen||0 – 1||Hibernian||Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen||27 October 2002|
|Brebner 70'||Attendance: 12,321
|SPL||Hibernian||1 – 2||Heart of Midlothian||Easter Road, Edinburgh||3 November 2002|
|Paatelainen 36'||McKenna 86'
|SPL||Rangers||2 – 1||Hibernian||Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow||10 November 2002|
|McManus 45'||Attendance: 48,798
|SPL||Hibernian||2 – 1||Dundee||Easter Road, Edinburgh||16 November 2002|
Paatelainen 49' (pen)
|Novo 90'||Attendance: 8,870
|SPL||Hibernian||3 – 1||Motherwell||Easter Road, Edinburgh||23 November 2002|
O'Neil 90' (pen)
|Ferguson 47'||Attendance: 8,859
|SPL||Dunfermline Athletic||1 – 1||Hibernian||East End Park, Dunfermline||30 November 2002|
|Crawford 66'||McManus 57'||Attendance: 7,515
|SPL||Hibernian||0 – 1||Celtic||Easter Road, Edinburgh||4 December 2002|
|Petrov 76'||Attendance: 12,042
|SPL||Dundee United||1 – 1||Hibernian||Tannadice Park, Dundee||7 December 2002|
|Wilson 3'||Murray 7'||Attendance: 5,673
|SPL||Livingston||1 – 2||Hibernian||Almondvale, Livingston||14 December 2002|
|Brinquin 90'||Murray 55'
|SPL||Kilmarnock||2 – 1||Hibernian||Rugby Park, Kilmarnock||21 December 2002|
|Luna 83'||Attendance: 5,814
|SPL||Hibernian||1 – 1||Partick Thistle||Easter Road, Edinburgh||26 December 2002|
|O'Neil 89' (pen)||Burns 78'||Attendance: 10,317
|SPL||Hibernian||2 – 0||Aberdeen||Easter Road, Edinburgh||29 December 2002|
|SPL||Heart of Midlothian||4 – 4||Hibernian||Tynecastle, Edinburgh||2 January 2003|
|Pressley 30' (pen)
de Vries 62'
|SPL||Hibernian||0 – 2||Rangers||Easter Road, Edinburgh||29 January 2003|
|SPL||Motherwell||2 – 1||Hibernian||Fir Park, Motherwell||8 February 2003|
|O'Connor 71'||Attendance: 4,999
|SPL||Hibernian||1 – 3||Dunfermline Athletic||Easter Road, Edinburgh||15 February 2003|
|O'Connor 67'||Mason 20'
|SPL||Dundee||3 – 0||Hibernian||Dens Park, Dundee||25 February 2003|
Murray 90' (og)
|SPL||Celtic||3 – 2||Hibernian||Celtic Park, Glasgow||2 March 2003|
|SPL||Hibernian||1 – 1||Dundee United||Easter Road, Edinburgh||9 March 2003|
|McManus 3'||McIntyre 69'||Attendance: 7,518
|SPL||Partick Thistle||0 – 1||Hibernian||Firhill Stadium, Glasgow||15 March 2003|
|McManus 15'||Attendance: 4,551
|SPL||Kilmarnock||6 – 2||Hibernian||Rugby Park, Kilmarnock||5 April 2003|
Boyd 90' (pen)
|SPL||Hibernian||2 – 2||Livingston||Easter Road, Edinburgh||12 April 2003|
|SPL||Dundee United||1 – 2||Hibernian||Tannadice Park, Dundee||26 April 2003|
|McCracken 32'||McManus 58' (pen)
|SPL||Hibernian||3 – 1||Aberdeen||Easter Road, Edinburgh||3 May 2003|
|Tiernan 88'||Attendance: 7,904
|SPL||Hibernian||1 – 0||Motherwell||Easter Road, Edinburgh||10 May 2003|
|Brebner 66' (pen)||Attendance: 7,809
|SPL||Livingston||1 – 2||Hibernian||Almondvale, Livingston||17 May 2003|
|Pasquinelli 87'||Brown 38'
|SPL||Hibernian||2 – 3||Partick Thistle||Easter Road, Edinburgh||24 May 2003|
|P||Team||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Qualification or relegation|
|1||Rangers||38||31||4||3||101||28||73||97||UEFA Champions League 2003-04 Third qualifying round|
|2||Celtic||38||31||4||3||98||26||72||97||UEFA Champions League 2003-04 Second qualifying round|
|3||Hearts||38||18||9||11||57||51||6||63||UEFA Cup 2003-04 First round|
Source: SPL official website
Scottish League Cup
As one of the SPL clubs who had not automatically qualified for European competition, Hibs entered at the last 32 stage (second round) of the competition, in which they defeated Alloa Athletic 2–0. Hibs were then drawn against Rangers, managed by former Hibs boss Alex McLeish, at home in the last 16. The match proved to be a "miserable night" for Hibs, as the tie was lost 3–2 despite taking an early lead. The lead was quickly turned into a deficit by an own goal and a defensive error by Derek Townsley. Despite Garry O'Connor's goal levelling the score midway through the second half, Rangers scored what proved to be the winning goal soon afterwards. Gary Smith was sent off late on, reducing Hibs to ten men. To top things off, midfielder Alen Orman suffered what appeared to be an epileptic fit during the first half and had to be substituted.
|Scottish League Cup||Alloa Athletic||0 – 2||Hibernian||Recreation Park, Alloa||24 September 2002|
|Scottish League Cup||Hibernian||2 – 3||Rangers||Easter Road, Edinburgh||24 October 2002|
|Townsley 22' (og)
|Scottish Cup||Dundee United||2 – 3||Hibernian||Tannadice Park, Dundee||25 January 2003|
Hamilton 79' (pen)
|Scottish Cup||Dunfermline Athletic||1 – 1||Hibernian||East End Park, Dunfermline||22 February 2003|
|Nicholson 58'||Murray 42'||Attendance: 6,619
|Scottish Cup||Hibernian||0 – 2||Dunfermline Athletic||Easter Road, Edinburgh||6 March 2003|
During this period, Hibs were experiencing severe financial problems, due to a "collapse in television revenues". Hibs chairman Ken Lewandowski stated that the club's debt burden at the financial year end would be approximately £17M, and that the club could only continue to operate due to the support offered by majority shareholder Tom Farmer. At the end of the season, the club explored the possibility of selling Easter Road and sharing a new ground with Edinburgh derby rivals Hearts. During the summer of 2002, Hibs somewhat addressed these financial deficits by selling Ulises de la Cruz and Ulrik Laursen. De la Cruz was sold just one season after Hibs had bought him for a club record fee.
During the 2002–03 season, Hibs used 30 different players in competitive games. The table below shows the number of appearances and goals scored by each player.
|No.||Nat||Pos||Player||Total||SPL||Scottish Cup||League Cup|
- "Average Home League Game Attendances". www.fitbastats.com. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- "Room for improvement at Hibs". BBC Sport. BBC. 4 August 2003.
- Brewster destroys Hibs, Daily Telegraph, 12 September 2002.
- Laursen blames McLeish over Hibs, Daily Telegraph, 16 September 2002.
- High drama in Edinburgh derby, BBC Sport, 2 January 2003.
- Hibernian 2 Rangers 3, Sporting Life.
- Kwik-Fit keeps Hibs afloat, BBC Sport, 25 June 2003.
- Capital groundshare plan, BBC Sport, 16 June 2003.
- De la Cruz for Villa, The Guardian, 26 July 2002.
- "Hibernian 2002/2003 player appearances". Soccerbase. Retrieved 13 December 2009.
- Fixtures & Results, Hibernian F.C. official site
- Hibernian 2002/2003 results and fixtures, Soccerbase