panic, we havenít enlisted Richard Gough as a guest writer just yet!
article was inspired by yet another tremendously successful London
Hibs Burns Night. Our guests
this year were Peter Cormack & Peter Marinello who joined the ranks
of other Legends, Jim OíRourke, Joe Baker, Pat Stanton & Eddie
Turnbull who have honoured us with their presence.
Chatting with the two
Peters it struck me of an additional common bond amongst these greats.
With the exception of Eddie Turnbull whose competitive services to Hibs
were unavoidably delayed by the Second World War, all the above were
regulars in the Hibs first team as teenagers. Actually, knowing Eddie Iím
quite surprised the Germans did not surrender earlier! Eddie was an
established first choice at the venerable age of 22, thatís still 2
years younger than the youngest regular playing at Easter Rd this
Letís look at some of
the astonishing facts concerning these players.
played for Hibs in Europe at the age of 16 years & 85 days! Jimmy
scored 2 goals ( out of 4 ) in the first 10 minutes against Hearts on
his 19th birthday.
Joe Baker scored 4
goals against Hearts at Tynecastle at the age of 17. It hurts to say
it but to put it into perspective Hearts won the league by 10 points
that season. Joe made his debut, & scored, for England at the age
Pat Stanton was an
extremely late developer! He didnít make his debut until a month
after his 19th birthday! Of course he scored, immediately
became a regular & gained his first cap at the age of 21.
Peter Marinello made
his debut for Hibs at the age of 17. In 2 short years he thrilled
audiences all over Scotland with his performances, including scoring a
memorable double against Rangers at Ibrox. Peter was still only 19 when
he transferred to Arsenal & of course scored on his debut at Old
Peter Cormack, like
Jim OíRourke debuted at the age of 16. Peter had reached the grand
old age of 17 when he played & scored against Real Madrid. Peter
recently stated, in an interview with Brian Moore, that was his
greatest game of all time. Not bad for a guy who won an English Cup,
league medals & 2 Eufa cups.
were packed with other young stars in addition to Jimmy & Pat.
Brownlie, Blackley & Cropley were all well established in their
teens. In fact John Brownlie was the regular Scotland full back at the
age of 19 & Danny McGrainís Scotland career did not take off until
after John received his tragic leg break.
So whatís changed? If
we think back over the last 20 years only Kevin Harper & Kenny
Miller stand out as teenage first team regulars. Kevin of course has
never fulfilled his early promise & the juryís still out on Kenny
Miller. Our new hope, Tom McManus has already left his teens but has
only started a handful of games. Of course Hibs are not alone in this
regard, particularly in Scotland. It seems strange that more teenagers
are bloodied in the higher standard English Premiership than in the SPL.
Certainly the many years of the SPL with only 10 teams induced a fear
factor that made managers reluctant to throw in youngsters.
To sum it up, a few
years back Alan Hansen famously said ďyou win nothing with kids.Ē
Man U of course proved him wrong but then of course itís different if
the kids are exceptional talents such as Beckham, Giggs, Scholes &
I would suggest our own
great Hibs players as mentioned above also easily fall into that
category of exceptional talent. I remember clearly waiting with
expectation to see the first sign of these players in a Hibs jersey.
Many like OíRourke,
Marinello & Cormack had been followed from schooldays & their
debuts, even at such young ages, were eagerly awaited. I look forward to
the day when we head again to Easter Rd, the crowd buzzing with
excitement at the prospect of a young genius donning the green for the