ON Saturday, the William Hill Scottish Cup Final will be contested by two clubs, Rangers and Hibs, who between them, according to some people’s interpretation, have won the Cup precisely once.

That was in 1902, when Hibernian FC won the Scottish Cup for the only time in the history of that particular club. Rangers FC, of course, have not won the Cup since the Ibrox club began a second (or third or fourth) incarnation in 2012.

The case of Hibs is apposite. The original Hibernians FC was founded in 1875 by Irishmen and sons of Irish people who were parishioners of St Patrick’s Church in the Cowgate in central Edinburgh. With the help of their parish priest, they overcame outright anti-Irish bigotry to make an impact on the early days of Scottish football and won the premier competition, the Scottish Cup, in 1887.

Interests to declare here – my late father maintained that Canon Edward Joseph Hannan of St Patrick’s was the cousin of his great grandfather but you can safely ignore the tenuous family connection.

I also helped the late great Eddie Turnbull write his memoirs and learned more about football from him than anyone else in my life. But again, this is not a piece about being pro- or anti-Hibs or Rangers. It is, however, an argument for principles in Scottish football.

Here is a simple fact. Hibernians FC went out of business in the summer of 1891 and were struck off the rolls of the Scottish Football Association for failing to pay their subscription. Coincidentally the club’s collapse and dissolution coincided with the fatal illness of Canon Hannan, who died in June, 1891.

Despite all the alteration of records which has taken place over the years, Hibernians died in 1891 and were out of football for a season – their troubles were well known even before they collapsed, hence the reason why, despite being Scottish Cup winners, they were not part of the original eleven clubs that formed the Scottish Football League.

The following year, thanks in no small part to Philip Farmer, an ancestor of current owner Sir Tom Farmer, the club was reborn as Hibernian FC and admitted both as an SFA member club and to the newly formed Second Division of the Scottish League.

Hibernians died, and Hibernian FC was born after a year in which no such club existed. Those who doubt the changes should know that from that 1887 Cup win there survives the medal given to player Jerry Reynolds which clearly states that “Hibernians” won the cup that season – it is in the possession of the Hibernian Historical Trust.

Nobody, as far as I know, bothers to challenge the current Hibs and their fans about the break in their history and the undeniable fact that the current Hibernian FC is not the original Hibernians FC that lasted from 1875 to 1891.

This weekend there will be many people who will firmly believe that they are watching an Edinburgh club with 140 years of unbroken history. Yet there will be plenty others who believe they are watching a Glasgow club that is four years old, one they usually call Sevco.

Rangers, and only Rangers, get taunted this way because even though Sevco Scotland Ltd – the off-the-shelf company that Charles Green used to buy the stricken club – was quickly renamed the Rangers Football Club, just as Hibernians became Hibernian, it will not do for some people to accept that the Rangers which will play on Saturday will be trying to win their 34th Scottish Cup and not their first.

It is not just fans of Celtic who think that Rangers/Sevco is an entirely new club, and their argument is persuasive – that the SFA colluded with Rangers to allow the club to start again in the fourth tier of Scottish football. Personally, I thought demotion by one or two leagues would have been sufficient punishment because I feared for the quality of Scottish football and the national team with Rangers out of the top flight for too long. QED, I’d say. The case the Sevco people argue is that Rangers should not be allowed to have all the previous 33 Scottish Cup wins, not to mention 54 Scottish championships and 27 League Cups, as part of their history.

I have some sympathy with that point of view as I have made clear in the past – unless the current Rangers fully apologise for their past incarnation’s admitted faults and pay the £250,000 fine levied upon them, they cannot claim to own the history. Your history is exactly that – you have to accept the bad bits and their consequences as well as the trophies and titles of the past.

Yet I cannot and will not be silent as Rangers continue to be vilified alone – yes the club’s transgressions were the worst, but the fact is that Hibernian FC has a broken history, Clydebank FC is now Airdrieonians FC, Meadowbank Thistle FC became Livingston FC and every single club in the Scottish Professional Football League is not the same entity as it began life. Even the oldest clubs like Kilmarnock and Dumbarton as well as Celtic and Rangers and, yes, the venerable Queen’s Park FC are all different from the way they started, because they are all now limited companies. Follow the Sevco argument, and every club in Scotland should have its history start with the last time their ownership changed. Which would mean Celtic’s history starting in 1897 – the current plc is a successor body – and Hibs starting in 1892.

Or else we can just consider them all to be the same teams, with Celtic going back to 1887-88, Hibs beginning in 1875, and Rangers beginning in 1872. It’s the principle of the thing – when it comes to history, you can’t treat one club differently from others, so if Hibs are 141 years old, Rangers are 144.