Hearts in 50 objects: No.2 – Robbo’s first boots

John Robertson's first boots
John Robertson's first boots
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The first pair of football boots ever worn by Hearts’ record league goalscorer, John Robertson. Young Robbo first laced these up at the age of eight before starring for local Edinburgh boys’ clubs Parsons Green, Portobello, Salvesen and Edina Hibs.

In those days – the early 1970s – there were no Nike Mercurials or Adidas Copa Mundials. Football boots were black and very plain in design, often with a firm leather or synthetic upper.

John Robertson is Hearts' record league goalscorer

John Robertson is Hearts' record league goalscorer

Robertson treasured these boots and wore them virtually every day to play football, either with team-mates or friends, until such time as he outgrew them. He would, of course, go on to become one of the most iconic figures in Hearts’ history.

Robertson joined Hearts in 1981 having been wanted across Edinburgh at Easter Road. He was asked to sign for Hibs and requested time to think about the offer. Hibs refused and he joined their city rivals.

He made his debut in February 1982 and began a long love affair with the maroon shirt which still exists to this day. Robertson briefly left to try his luck in England with Newcastle United in 1988 but within a few months was back in Gorgie scoring goals for Hearts.

He donned the jersey for the final time as an unused substitute in the 1998 Scottish Cup final win over Rangers at Celtic Park. He finished with a record 271 competitive Hearts goals on his CV. He remains the man to score more league goals in a Hearts shirt than anyone else, and has also scored more times against Hibs than any other player, with a tally of 27 in Edinburgh derbies.

Now 52, Robertson has just accepted the post of Inverness Caley Thistle manager, the second time he has bossed that club. He was Hearts manager for six months during the 2004/05 season but was sacked by then-owner Vladimir Romanov, who replaced him with George Burley.

He remains an idol amongst supporters and is often seen around the ground on matchdays mingling with fans, posing for pictures and signing autographs.

The nickname “Hammer of the Hibs” was given to him by fans due to his prolific scoring rate against their Capital rivals. Yet it all began with those neat, dainty black boots he slipped on a child.