Hibees Here Hibees There

Issue 24 - Spring 2001

Where Have All The young men gone?

OK, don�t panic, we haven�t enlisted Richard Gough as a guest writer just yet!

Rather, this 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 O�Rourke, 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 I�m quite surprised the Germans did not surrender earlier! Eddie was an established first choice at the venerable age of 22, that�s still 2 years younger than the youngest regular playing at Easter Rd this season.

Let�s look at some of the astonishing facts concerning these players.

Jimmy O�Rourke 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 of 19.

Pat Stanton was an extremely late developer! He didn�t 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 Trafford

Peter Cormack, like Jim O�Rourke 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.

Turnbull�s Tornadoes 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 McGrain�s Scotland career did not take off until after John received his tragic leg break.

So what�s 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 jury�s 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 �you win nothing with kids.� Man U of course proved him wrong but then of course it�s different if the kids are exceptional talents such as Beckham, Giggs, Scholes & Neville.

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 O�Rourke, 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 first time.

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