Tributes to Hibs ‘Famous Five’ legend Lawrie Reilly

Lawrie Reilly was a Hibs legend. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Lawrie Reilly was a Hibs legend. Picture: Ian Rutherford
0
Have your say

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has led the tributes to former Hibs striker Lawrie Reilly - the last surviving member of the ‘Famous Five’ - who has died at the age of 84.

Reilly was in Edinburgh’s Western General and had been ill for some time with bone cancer.

Hibs v Dundee, 4-2. Easter Road, 11/3/1950.'Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly scores after getting past Dundee keeper Billy Brown.  In fact, the keeper, by pulling Reilly back, caught the ball on the line, but the linesman declared it was over.  Final score was a 4-2 win for Hibs.

Hibs v Dundee, 4-2. Easter Road, 11/3/1950.'Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly scores after getting past Dundee keeper Billy Brown. In fact, the keeper, by pulling Reilly back, caught the ball on the line, but the linesman declared it was over. Final score was a 4-2 win for Hibs.

The ‘Famous Five’ - Reilly, Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond - is still thought by many to be Scotland’s greatest-ever forward line. In the years immediately after the Second World War, arguably the games finest ever period, Hibernian were at the forefront of Scottish football.

Hibs won three League Championships, came second once and lost another only on goal average between the years 1948 and 1954.

Reilly made 235 appearances during his years at Hibs, 1946-1958, and scored 185 goals.

The Famous Five also all played for Scotland.

‘Hibernian great’

Reilly was Hibernian’s most capped player ever and fourth in the Scotland national team’s top ever goalscorers.

Strachan, who grew up a Hibs supporter, took time out of his preparations for next month’s meeting with the Auld Enemy at Wembley to pay tributes to a man idolised by the Leith club’s faithful.

He said: “I used to see Lawrie regularly when I went to Easter Road.

“He was a big hero of my father and it’s not great news. But he has left us with some fantastic memories.

“He scored five times [against England] but, even though I met him so many times, he never mentioned that. It’s a measure of how much a gentleman he was that he never mentioned that.

“Great players never tell you what they did - people already know. And he was a great player, that’s for sure.”

Forth DJ and dedicated Hibs supporter Grant Stott got to know Reilly well through hosting the hospitality at games and often sat next to him for matches.

He said: “For a Hibs fan, being asked to sit next to Lawrie Reilly was like a music fan being invited to hang out with the Beatles.”

But he said Reilly was a very humble man. “If you asked him about the Famous Five he would talk about the super six behind them - he was always very conscious it was the whole team who played.”

Hibs chairman Rod Petrie added: “We all feel the loss of a true Hibernian great, but our hearts must go out first to Lawrie’s widow Iris and to his family. Our thoughts are with them at this sad time.

“The term ‘legend’ gets bandied about, perhaps too easily, but Lawrie was a genuine legend.

“He grew up as a Hibernian fan and he spent his entire career with the club he loved. He was undoubtedly one of the club’s greatest ever players, revered by all who loved attacking and entertaining football. He was also one of Scotland’s greatest ever strikers.

“Lawrie retained his lifelong passion for the club he graced as a player and was a regular attender at matches, a matchday host and was one of the club’s champions. He will be sadly missed.”

Strachan, who grew up a Hibs supporter, took time out of his preparations for next month’s meeting with the Auld Enemy at Wembley to pay tributes to a man idolised by the Leith club’s faithful.

He said: “I used to see Lawrie regularly when I went to Easter Road.

“He was a big hero of my father and it’s not great news. But he has left us with some fantastic memories.

“He scored five times [against England] but, even though I met him so many times, he never mentioned that. It’s a measure of how much a gentleman he was that he never mentioned that.

“Great players never tell you what they did - people already know. And he was a great player, that’s for sure.”

• Pay your tributes: Share your memories of Lawrie Reilly in the comments below.