Obituary: Morris Stevenson, ex-Hibs player, 71

Morris Stevenson, left, leapfrogs team-mate Tom McCready alongside Gerry Baker and Willie Wilson
Morris Stevenson, left, leapfrogs team-mate Tom McCready alongside Gerry Baker and Willie Wilson
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MORRIS Stevenson, a former Hibs player who competed in European matches for three Scottish sides, has died, aged 71.

The inside forward was a slight figure whose career was marked by several sharp highs and lows.

Stevenson was born in Tranent, East Lothian, in 1943. He began his football career with Junior club Cockenzie Star, where his pace and ball skills where noticed by Motherwell manager Bobby Ancell.

After two years and 16 appearances yielding seven goals at Fir Park, Stevenson was signed by Hibernian’s new manager Walter Galbraith in 1962.

He scored Hibs’ only goal in a 4-1 defeat by Rangers, and months later made his European debut, scoring once in a 4-0 defeat of Copenhagen Staevnet in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

He would play in European twice more, as a player first at Morton and later with Dundee United.

Stevenson maintained a regular Hibs first team place in the albeit decimated fixture list of 1962-3’s harsh winter. But after losing his first team place a few months later he was put on the free transfer list by a team which had narrowly avoided relegation.

Joining Second Division Morton was a happy time for Stevenson. His new team was soon promoted and later gave him the satisfaction of beating the two former teams which had let him go, Motherwell and Hibs.

Morton fans will fondly remember the line-up of those days, with Adamson, Stevenson, Caven, McGraw and Wilson providing some memorable nights.

Never a prolific goal scorer, Stevenson was more of a play maker. Indeed, Allan McGraw has cited his support and team-work as a key to his own success on the scoresheet.

Sometimes dribbling towards one opponent too many, he was nevertheless outstanding on occasion, with one notable example remembered by many being the time he beat five players to score from an almost impossible angle against Third Lanark in 1966.

After five years at Cappielow and 215 appearances and 32 goals, Stevenson expressed a desire to try English football and his wish was granted with a £5,000 move to third division Luton Town in October 1968.

Injury-prone, he spent a dismal time in Bedfordshire, with only one first team appearance. He returned north in February 1970 as one of Jerry Kerr’s last signings at Dundee United.

After three seasons and 40 matches at United, he saw out the remainder of his career with a dozen matches for Berwick Rangers, his final professional club.

Stevenson retired from football in 1973.

He died at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after a long illness and is survived by wife Ellen, and their children and grandchildren.