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  • Theres only ever been one team for me

    So says Lawrie Reilly and it is both an honour and privilege to review a book that should become part of every Hibs fans memorabilia collection and that is the long awaited autobiography of the great man himself, one time centre forward in the Famous Five and all time Hibernian hero and legend. As Lawrie himself says he has been fortunate to live such a long and happy life and it is to our benefit that he has chosen to share that life with us by writing this book in collaboration with Ted Brack who has himself written two previous Hibernian books of the highest order.

    One thing that struck me time and again as I devoured the 269 pages was Lawries absolute love of Hibernian Football Club and his determination to be a Hibs player throughout his playing days despite numerous offers from clubs on both sides of the border and beyond to lure him away. Having had the pleasure on numerous occasions to meet the man in the flesh I can assure you that the love in question is not manufactured just to sell books but is a genuine and quite moving reflection of Last Minute Reilly who when engaged in conversation will tell you just what a magnificent club Hibernian is.

    Although brought up just a long free kick away from Tynecastle there was never any doubt about which of the Edinburgh clubs Lawrie would follow as his Dad and Granddad were both rabid Hibs men and would never have tolerated Lawrie being anything different. As it happens, Lawrie took little persuasion as like many a Hibs fan before and since, he fell in love with that wonderful green and white strip from the moment he first set eyes on it.

    As a young boy Lawrie was rarely seen without a ball at his feet and he was soon banging in goals for his primary school team, even though when first selected he was at least a couple of years younger than both his team mates and any opposition. That introduction into organised football gave him the platform to go on and compete at all levels of the game from school to boys club; from amateur to professional and at every one of those levels he scored goals aplenty which drew the eyes of many a scout including one from Hearts but whenever that fact became known, Lawries Dad stepped in to ensure his son would not be going anywhere near a Hearts contract offer!

    Prior to joining Hibs as a player, Reilly had travelled all over Scotland with his Dad to watch Hibernian play and his hero from the off was a certain Gordon Smith. Its fair to say that Lawrie idolised the Hibs right winger and so when Hibs came looking to sign the young Reilly it was an absolute dream come true for the lad who would now be training alongside his hero and ultimately with Smith forming two fifths of Scotlands best ever forward line.

    Once Lawrie had forced his way into the starting eleven he found himself often played on the left wing but before long it became obvious he was best suited to the centre forward position as when wearing the number nine jersey he found the net with stunning regularity for both club and country. His recollections of those halcyon days of the Famous Five make compulsive and entertaining reading as its their story told from the inside as it were. There are tales galore of the highs and lows of being a Hibs player at a time when League Championships were won and competitive European football was embraced. Theres the joy of silencing Ibrox and Parkhead crowds and theres the lows of injury and illness all part of Lawries life as a Hibs player and all worthy of being brought into the public domain.

    Of course Lawrie Reilly didnt just score goals for Hibs but he got a fair few for Scotland as well. In this book he acknowledges with pride his Irish roots but leaves the reader in no doubt that his loyalty and love is to Scotland which for me encapsulates the Hibernian ethos to a tee - proud of our heritage and beginnings but very much part of the fabric of Scottish sport.

    There are literally dozens and dozens of anecdotes, each and every one a glimpse of Reilly the man and Hibernian the club and so this autobiography is not just Lawries life but also a new and valuable addition to the history of our club. With that in mind I wholly recommend its purchase and I guarantee that once bought it will be read and enjoyed by all.

    Finally Id like to record my thanks to Lawrie for sharing with us the story of his life. I like to consider myself a scholar of Hibernian Football Club and its history and so books like this one add richly to my knowledge of the club and those who played for it. Im not the only such scholar and one other of my acquaintance is my good friend Ted Brack who has, without a doubt, hit the nail very firmly on the head in helping Lawrie create this book and I applaud him for creating something that is not only very readable but is packed with little nuggets of gold for Hibs fans of the present and future to enjoy.

    Signing session details

    Friday 15 October WH Smith at the Gyle 1pm - 2pm
    Saturday 16 October 10.30am - 11.30am Hibs Club Store
    Sunday 24 October Waterstone's at Ocean Terminal 1pm - 2pm
    Saturday 30 October 1pm - 2pm Waterstone's in Livingston
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