With Valencia set to take on Celtic in their Europa League round of 32 first leg in Glasgow, now seems a great time to reminisce. Let’s take a look back at how non-Old Firm Scottish clubs have fared against Los Murciélagos. You’d be surprised.
Valencia are a big name in Spanish and European football. Having reached seven major European finals, they’ve won four of them. Two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups (prior to the UEFA Cup), a UEFA Cup, a Cup Winners’ Cup are in their cabinet, along with two UEFA Super Cups.
They also reached two Champions League finals in a row, losing to fellow Spaniards Real Madrid 3-0 in Paris in 2000. A year later, Bayern Munich got the better of them on penalties after a 1–1 draw in Milan.
They’ve played both Rangers and Celtic in European competition before. Celtic play them on Thursday and the two are no strangers, having met in the UEFA Cup in 2001-02.
Yet, they also played the Hoops in the earliest stage of their victorious 1962-63 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup run. A run in which coincidentally they played two non-Old Firm Scottish clubs after beating Celtic in the first round.
In the second round, they played Dunfermline Athletic. Dunfermline had got the better of Everton in the first round, winning on aggregate 2-1. Jock Stein’s side attacked from the very first whistle and it nearly paid dividends. A fascinating scoreline saw the Pars beat Valencia in their second leg 6-2, at the time Els Taronges’ heaviest European defeat.
Even more impressive when you consider the Pars had lost 4-0 at the Mestalla first time around, thus levelling the tie. Dunfermline would lose 1-0 in the playoff despite a valiant effort and Hibs would be next to have a crack at Valencia.
A 5-0 humbling at the Mestalla would bring Hibs down to earth. Yet, they would get the better of Valencia in Edinburgh thanks to a 2-1 win in the Scottish capital. Valencia would go on and retain the trophy, sealing their second Inter-Cities Cup.
Things wouldn’t get easier three seasons later. Hibs played them in the first round of the same competition in 1965-66. A 2-0 victory at the Mestalla for the Spaniards was reversed in Edinburgh again. Valencia would advance via the playoff though, getting the better of the Hibees 3-0.
However, they wouldn’t be successful in the competition this time, crashing out to Don Revie’s Leeds United in the third round.
So the omens are there for Marcelino García Toral’s side if they are to go on and win the equivalent of the Inter-Cities Cup once more. They have beaten Scottish sides before to go on and win it, just as well they don’t have to come up against either Dunfermline or Hibernian.