It was wonderful to meet all the boys again to celebrate Pat Stanton’s 75th birthday
I was up in the “posh seats,” the directors’ box, along with a number of former Hibs players at the weekend as the club marked Pat Stanton’s 75th birthday.
The ex-players who were there marked different eras, former team-mates of Pat, guys like Jim Herriot, Alex Cropley and John Brownlie, and Willie Murray who I’d go to watch as a youngster.
Pat was my first manager at Hibs at a time when kids like Paul Kane, Gordon Hunter, John Collins, Kevin McKee and Callum Milne were at the very beginning of their careers. He was the one who gave us that chance so I was delighted to get along to take part in proceedings.
Big George Stewart and Jimmy O’Rourke were great coaches but there were players such as Gordon Rae, Alan Sneddon and Alan Rough - who were all there on Saturday - who were all great professionals, along with the likes of Arthur Duncan and Ally Brazil, who taught us so much in terms of what it took to become a Hibs player.
Gordon Rae was a great big guy, a captain who led by example and is as enthusiastic today as he was back then and is still working at the club as a youth coach.
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The thing about guys like him was that they all wanted to play for Hibs, they enjoyed playing for Hibs. To pull on that green and white jersey was the Holy Grail, it meant everything to them and they had a great understanding of what it took to play for the club.
We had a great chat throughout the day about how football has changed, listening to the stories they had to tell, all the different managers they had played under and also hearing what a great coach and tactician the great Eddie Turnbull was.
You could sit in their company all day long, hearing the different views on how the game has changed over the years. Pat, of course, also played for Celtic so it was fitting they were the opponents on Saturday, both sets of players forming a guard of honour for him before kick-off with all the fans showing their appreciation for one of Scottish football’s greatest players although, obviously, he’ll always be known as a Hibs legend, player, captain, manager.