The funeral’s on Friday. When a standing room only crowd will bid Lawrie Reilly their last goodbye. And will be thanking God that he wasn’t here to witness the seven-goal savaging from the Swedes at Easter Road. What Lawrie possibly would have rated “a tanner ba’ team”.
Because I’d seen him in action often, because we’d met often and I’d written about him for this paper as a result of our blethers, it seems pertinent to dig into the Gibpress File and recall certain aspects of those interviews.
Lawrie talking: “You can be over-critical of what’s happening in the game these days. You see players getting a hundred grand a week (this was 2006) and say ‘my God, see what we’ve missed’ but you have to keep things in perspective.
“Overall my recollections of Wembley are fond. When I got that last-minute goal George Farm, the former Hibs keeper who was transferred to Blackpool, ran the length of the field at the final whistle to congratulate me. I’d been best man at George’s wedding.
“That night both teams were taken into central London for dinner and when I got out of the taxi at the restaurant all I could hear at the door was tartan-clad fans chanting my name, but as I walked through them they didn’t recognise me. There was no telly in those days and most players, no matter how famous, weren’t instantly recognisable in the street.
“What I always remember about that night was that when we got into the restaurant Sammy Cox gave me a great hug. I must say I did get on well with Rangers players. When Hibs played in Glasgow I’d stay with Ian McColl and we’d always go out for a meal after the game at Ibrox . . . Ian, Geordie Young and Willie Waddell.
“I had two years under Willie McCartney, the manager who signed me, then for the rest of my playing days Hugh Shaw was my mentor, initially as the club trainer.
“Hugh was a gem of a man. Easy to talk to. He’d been a Hibs hero in the Thirties in the legendary Kerr-Miller-Shaw half-back line.”
Lawrie, the Pearly Gates are wide open for you.