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  • Turnbull's Tornadoes

    To help lift the gloom of an opening day defeat, John Campbell takes a look back at one of the best Hibernian sides that ever existed......

    Every once in a while a football club has golden periods in it’s history and Hibernian is no different than any other club in that regard. The Forties and Fifties gave birth to the Famous Five, a forward line that mesmerised opposing defences and entertained wherever it played. A fallow period followed although there were sparks of encouragement here and there with some notable victories, especially in European competition, until the Seventies when Turnbull’s Tornadoes treated Hibs fans to some of the best football seen since the days of the Famous Five.

    Eddie Turnbull had of course been one of that very Famous Five, wearing the number ten jersey and gracing football pitches both at home and abroad whilst representing both Club and Country. He was a one Club man in terms of his playing career but he became involved in Coaching whilst still on the playing staff at Easter Road and he would leave the Club in that capacity to learn his trade at Queens Park. From there he moved into the Manager’s chair at Pittodrie where he created a fine Aberdeen side, winning the Scottish Cup in 1970 before returning to take the reins at Hibs a year later.

    When Turnbull arrived he took over from Dave Ewing who himself had succeeded Willie MacFarlane. The season just ended had brought mixed fortunes with a fairly poor league campaign being supplemented by the scoring form of Joe McBride and some very special European nights. Off the field there had been activity that would have a major effect on Turnbull’s appointment as the Club came under the control of East Lothian businessman and long time Hibs fan Tom Hart.

    The side inherited by Turnbull had players like Gordon Marshall in goal, Eric Stevenson, John Hazel, Johnny Graham, Kenny Davidson and Joe Baker, enjoying his second stint in green and white but Turnbull would soon ring the changes. In time he would assemble a squad and first choice eleven that earned the title of Turnbull’s Tornadoes.

    Jim Herriot

    When goalkeeper Jim Herriot joined Hibs from South African side Durban City in 1971 he had already enjoyed a fairly nomadic career having started as a professional with Dunfermline before joining Birmingham City in 1965. At St. Andrews he clocked up more than 200 appearances before moving on to Mansfield Town and from there to Durban. Eddie Turnbull had been tracking his career and when the new Manager realised he needed a good solid keeper he persuaded Herriot to return to Scotland. Just about every goalkeeper has idiosyncrasies that make them a breed apart and Herriot was no different as he normally took to the field for floodlit matches with mud spread on his face just below his eyes. It was Jim’s contention that doing this stopped the reflection from the floodlights bouncing upwards from his cheeks to blind him but as the vast majority of goalkeepers did not follow suit it is debateable as to just how effective that was. Jim’s other ‘claim to fame’ was the fact that his name was immortalised forever when author Alf Wight published a series of books based on his life as a Vet under the pseudonym of James Herriot, choosing to use that name after having watched keeper Jim Herriot in a televised football match.

    John Brownlie

    On the books when Turnbull arrived at Easter Road, John soon became first choice right back and appeared in Hibs’ colours in well over 200 matches. Blessed with both great footballing ability and superb athleticism ‘Onion’ as he was known to one and all formed a potent partnership with Pat Stanton and Alex Edwards on the right side of the park. His marauding overlapping runs became a feature of the Tornadoes’ style of play but it would be wrong to assume that he was only effective going forward as he was an outstanding defender too, winning caps for Scotland at both Under 23 and full international level. Brownlie left Hibs to join Newcastle in 1978 with Ralph Callachan heading to Easter Road as part of the deal. Later ‘Onion’ would play for Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Berwick Rangers and Blyth Spartans before moving into club management with Cowdenbeath, Arbroath and East Stirling.

    Erich Schaedler

    Son of a former POW, Erich was raised in Biggar and started his football playing days with Peebles Rovers before joining Melbourne Thistle in Edinburgh. From there he joined the professional ranks with Stirling Albion where Willie MacFarlane was his manager. When MacFarlane left Annfield to take the job at Easter Road, Erich was his first signing and what a shrewd piece of business that turned out to be. It was often said of ‘Shades’ that what he lacked in ability he made up for in endeavour but that seems unfair because he was a better footballer than people gave him credit for.

    Blessed with incredible strength and stamina he was hard but fair in the tackle and possessed one of the longest throw ins you are ever likely to see. Whilst with Hibs he won his only Scottish cap in a match against West Germany and he used to joke that he had only been selected because with a German father he would surely be able to understand the lingo – he didn’t! Shades left Hibs to join Dundee but returned for a second stint in green and white and was every bit as popular with the fans as he had been first time around. Sadly he lost his life in tragic circumstances when just 34 years of age.

    Pat Stanton

    A true legend of the game Pat was on the books at Easter Road when Eddie Turnbull arrived and all told he amassed well over 400 appearances during his thirteen years with Hibs. A local lad he acquired his nickname from the Edinburgh area in which he was raised, ‘Niddrie.’ As a schoolboy Pat had played alongside Jimmy O’Rourke and the two were and still are the greatest of friends.

    Turning professional with Hibs in 1961 Pat was loaned out to Bonnyrigg Rose to gain experience and he spent almost two years there before being called back to Easter Road where he soon got in to the first eleven, scoring on his debut in a 4-3 defeat by Motherwell. His versatility meant that he could play in the back four or midfield and he was equally adept in both roles although Turnbull predominantly used him as his midfield General. In August 1976, amongst uproar from a very disgruntled Hibs support, Pat left to join Celtic with Jackie McNamara coming to Hibs as part of the deal. Celtic boss Jock Stein had been a long time admirer of Pat’s and immediately installed him into the sides starting eleven. When the time came for Pat to hang up his boots he moved to Pittodrie as Assistant Manager to Alex Ferguson before branching out on his own by accepting the Manager’s post at Cowdenbeath.

    That job didn’t last long as he was spirited away by Dunfermline until in the early Eighties he replaced Bertie Auld at Easter Road. In his time as Manager he endured an often strained relationship with the Board as he felt they were not investing enough money in the playing staff. A number of promising youngsters were being developed but it would take time before players like Mickey Weir, Gordon Hunter and John Collins broke through. Many fans refer to Pat as ‘God’ myself amongst them as he was one of the best players I have ever watched in the green and white of Hibernian.

    Jim Black

    Sometimes unfairly referred to as the weak link in an otherwise strong defence, Jim Black joined Hibs from Airdrie in 1969 and formed a formidable central defensive partnership with John Blackley. Enjoying one of the more obvious nicknames, ‘Cilla’ was often referred too as ‘Big Jim Black’ and he certainly looked the part on the field of play but I recall the first time I met and spoke with him and thought to myself Big Jim Black is not that big! In truth he just topped the 6’ mark but he was exceptionally good in the air and though not too solid to look at he had that body strength that slimmer looking athletes seem to enjoy.

    Most great teams have players that attract less attention than others and it has to be said that Cilla was not top of the list with most fans when it came to naming their favourite Tornado but chatting with members of that side it is obvious he was greatly valued by his team mates for the contribution he made on the park. Whilst at Hibs a couple of English clubs made enquiries as to his availability but the club was not keen to sell and Jim was happy to stay. When he left Hibs, having played around 200 games for the club, he returned to Airdrie where he finished his playing career.

    John Blackley

    Signed from Gairdoch United, Blackley was a wonderful defender who turned out for Hibs on more than 300 occasions and won international recognition whilst at Easter Road. Fantastically cool under pressure he was a superb reader of the game and was tough in the tackle. They used to say if Blackley tackled you then you’d know all about it and many a forward has winced upon seeing him approach. He was by no means a dirty player but he never shirked a challenge and was a rock at the centre of the Hibs defence. Rejoicing in his nickname of ‘Sloop John B,’ after a Beach Boys track with that title he was a joker in the dressing room and was extremely popular with his fellow players and fans alike.

    In October 1977 Sloop was sold to Newcastle with the support once again feeling disgruntled at the departure of such a favourite. After enjoying his time at St. James’ Park he moved to Preston North End before returning north to join Hamilton Academical as player/coach. In September 1984 he returned to Easter Road as Manager and resigned the job late in 1986. From Easter Road he moved on to Dundee United where he teamed up with Paul Sturrock and the pair have worked together since at a variety of clubs down south.

    Alex Edwards

    From a very early age it was apparent that Alex Edwards was a very gifted footballer. He joined Dunfermline straight from school and actually made his first team debut when he was only 15, ironically with Hibs as opponents as the Pars beat them 4-0. A Scottish Cup winner’s medal was acquired when Dunfermline beat Hearts at Hampden in 1968 and Scottish League and Under 23 honours soon followed. Nicknamed ‘Mickey’ and invariably called that in preference to Alex, he played for several seasons in Dunfermline’s first team before joining Hibs and claiming the number seven jersey as his own.

    Mickey was known mostly for two things with the first being his uncanny ability to deliver pin point passes with stunning regularity and the second being his tendency to react badly when provoked by opposing players. His temper was legendary and it was played on by other teams as they sought to unsettle him and if possible get him booked and/or sent off. The lack of protection by referees of such a gifted footballer would see Mickey serve a number of hefty suspensions and probably cost him the opportunity to play for Scotland at full international level. After seven years with Hibs he left the club and joined Arbroath for a brief spell before hanging up his boots.

    Jimmy O’Rourke

    Joining Hibs straight from school, Jimmy had actually been at the club since 1962 when Eddie Turnbull arrived. A Hibs fan from a big Hibs supporting family Jimmy was hugely popular with fans and players alike with his happy nature and obvious love of the club. As well as being a hard and willing worker Jimmy was also an extremely talented footballer with an eye for goals and in his twelve years with the club he appeared on more than 230 occasions, scoring around 100 times. When only 16 he made his first team debut and quite amazingly it was in an important Fairs (UEFA) Cup tie against Utrecht. Jimmy didn’t really enjoy a proper nickname, known instead as ‘Rourky’ but he did have a song dedicated to him, based on the tune from the comic character Rupert the Bear when Hibs fans adapted it to Jimmy, Jimmy O’Rourke, everyone knows his name. In 1974 he left Hibs to join St. Johnstone when Eddie Turnbull had decided he wanted to reshape his team and bizarrely his first goal in his new colours came at Easter Road when St. Johnstone beat Hibernian 1-0.

    Alan Gordon

    One of that relatively rare breed of footballers that have played for Hibs and Hearts, Alan Gordon actually started his playing career at Tynecastle in 1961 and was soon a regular starter and goalscorer. In 1967 he decided to try his luck in South Africa but never really settled and returned to Tynecastle after less than a year. Finding it more difficult to break back into the first team he left Hearts to join Dundee United 1969 and spent three seasons there before Eddie Turnbull paid around £12,000 to bring him to Easter Road and never was money better spent. Forming a formidable strike force with Jimmy O’Rourke, Gordon scored goals for fun and managed no fewer than five hat tricks in a little under a hundred games which produced more than 60 goals in total. Known as a bit of a brain box because he had studied economics and accountancy he once drew a remark from Eddie Turnbull after he had interrupted his gaffer in full flow. The priceless words uttered by Turnbull were “The trouble wi’ you son is that aw yer brains are in yer heid” After just two years at Easter Road Alan left for Dens Park and joined another somewhat elite club as he had now played for both sides in Edinburgh and Dundee.

    Alex Cropley

    Known to one and all as ‘Sodjer’ because he had been born in Aldershot where his father was stationed with the Army, Alex Cropley was a highly gifted midfield player who joined the club as a youngster and was in the first team by the time he was 17, making his debut against St. Mirren in March 1969. Initially he was not a regular starter but as he developed and began to show his ability he soon captured the number ten jersey as his own and he formed a formidable partnership down the Hibs left with Erich Schaedler and Arthur Duncan. Graceful in movement Cropley was a stylish player to watch and had a very cultured left foot. Even though he was slight of build he was fearless in the tackle and would suffer the consequences at various stages in his career, suffering a broken leg on three occasions. In 1974 he was transferred to Arsenal but had only one season there before moving on to Aston Villa with whom he won a League Cup Medal.

    Arthur Duncan

    An old fashioned outside left Arthur Duncan joined Hibs from Partick Thistle in 1969 for a fee of around £35,000. Speed was one of his major assets and the ability to sprint so quickly earned him not one but two nicknames as he would answer both to ‘Flyer’ and ‘Nijinski’ with the latter name coming from an exceptionally quick racehorse of the time. Arthur would play close to 500 games for Hibs and score around 100 goals, form that drew admiring glances from elsewhere with Rangers trying hard at one time to sign him but Hibs were not prepared to sell. How ironic that Rangers would play a huge part in the one day of Arthur’s Hibs career he would rather forget. The 1979 Scottish Cup Final went to a second replay after two 0-0 draws had failed to throw up a winner. With the game finely balanced at 2-2 and extra time under way Arthur had the misfortune to head the ball into his own net to give Rangers victory. Many a lesser player would have had that kind of thing thrown up in his face by a support starved of success in that particular competition but not Arthur as he was hugely popular with the Hibs support for the whole of his time at Easter Road. When he finally did stop wearing the green and white he had a brief spell with Meadowbank Thistle before taking up a post on the medical staff at that club as he was a qualified Chiropodist.

    These eleven men thrilled the Hibernian support during their time together and fans used to head off for games not wondering whether Hibs would win but by how many goals they would win! But for an exceptional Celtic side, managed by Jock Stein, I have absolutely no doubts whatsoever that Hibs would have won at least one League Championship but it was not to be. There was consolation however in a League Cup and two Drybrough Cups whilst perhaps the most notable result of all achieved by Turnbull’s Tornadoes was achieved on 1 January 1973 when Heart of Midlothian were soundly thrashed 7-0 at Tynecastle.

    As you might imagine the eleven men named above were not always available to play in every game and there were a few other players around Easter Road at that time that deserve a mention. Some played a reasonable number of games whilst others made fleeting appearances but they all played their part in making Hibs one of the most exciting teams in the whole of the UK to watch.

    Mike McDonald

    When Jim Herriot left the club prior to the start of the 1973/74 season it would signal the start of the Tornadoes breaking up but before they did they were joined by goalkeeper Mike McDonald. The big keeper started his career with Clydebank before joining Stoke City where he became understudy to Peter Shilton before joining Hibs for £25,000. Making over 110 appearances whilst with Hibs he left to join Dundee and also had playing spells with Berwick Rangers, and St. Johnstone before retiring from the game.

    Des Bremner

    Early in 1973 John Brownlie suffered a broken leg in a match against East Fife at Easter Road and Eddie Turnbull immediately turned to Des Bremner to fill the number two jersey. Although Brownlie was a hard act to follow it soon became apparent that in Bremner Hibs had another star in the making. Joining Hibs in 1972 from Highland League side Deveronvale, Des was blessed with limitless stamina not to mention a high degree of skill and he proved a more than able deputy for his injured team mate. Even after Brownlie’s return Des simply switched smoothly into a midfield role and looked as though he had played there all his life. His impressive form encouraged Aston Villa to offer £275,000 for his services and Bremner joined them in 1979.

    An enormous hit at Villa Park Des won both the English Championship and the European Cup with the Midlands side. Upon leaving Villa Park Des made a short journey across the City to Birmingham and was a popular signing there too, despite the fact that he had joined from Villa! After hanging up his boots Des took a job with the English PFA.

    Tony Higgins

    Signed by Hibs in 1972 Tony Higgins was a big bustling player who could operate either in midfield or attack. Given his size he showed a remarkably delicate touch on the ball when the need arose and he certainly had an eye for goal. In around 125 appearances for Hibs he scored around 30 goals which is a fair average by any standards. When he left Hibs in 1980 he joined Partick Thistle before finishing his playing career with Morton. Tony then went on to hold an office bearing position in the Scottish Professional Footballers Association.

    Jim McArthur

    Eddie Turnbull spotted Jim McArthur playing in goal for Cowdenbeath, liked what he saw and promptly signed the youngster in 1972 for £8,000. Although his appearances around the time of the Tornadoes were few he still did a good job when called upon. Eventually Jim would rack up well over 200 appearances for Hibs until he left the club in 1983. Although a PE Instructor by profession Jim became a football agent, a profession he still holds today.
    John Hazel
    Often named as a substitute when the full Tornadoes side was in action Hazel was a decent midfield player who had made his first team debut in 1970. During his spell at Easter Road a number of clubs tried to prise him away but he wanted a place in the Hibs team and so stuck to the task. Unfortunately for him he would never get that regular spot and so left the club to join Morton where he had far more success in that regard.
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