Tributes as Hearts legend Johnny Hamilton dies

Johnny Hamilton in action against Partick Thistle in December 1965
Johnny Hamilton in action against Partick Thistle in December 1965
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Tributes have poured in for former Hearts player Johnny Hamilton after he died at the age of 78.

The winger, who signed for the club in April 1955 for a £100 fee, scored 157 goals in 496 appearances before 
leaving the club in 1967.

Former Hearts chairman Lord George Foulkes described “Wee Hammy” – who was known for his ability to play on both the right and left flank – as a “legend”.

He said: “People bandy that word about a lot these days, but in his case it really does apply. My recollection of him is that while he was definitely a skilful player, he was best known for his enthusiasm and commitment.

“Johnny Hamilton really couldn’t be a better role model for the young men currently on the squad. He gave 100 per cent in every game and that is what they need to do right now to keep the club afloat and to win those vital points.”

Hamilton, who was born in Larkhall in 1935, was an integral part of the team and won his first Scotland under 23s cap in 1956.

After leaving Hearts, he went on to play for Watford and Berwick Rangers before retiring in 1973 – but he wasn’t ready to leave the beautiful game, or Hearts, behind, and coached the youth team from 1974-79.

Derek Watson, vice-chairman of the Hearts Supporters Trust, said: “All Hearts supporters will be very sorry to hear of the sad death of Johnny Hamilton. He was a star who will always be remembered, especially by those who saw him play in the 1950s and 60s.”

His death was also mourned on the supporters site, Jambos Kickback, where many made reference to the newsagents Hamilton ran on Slateford Road.

One fan said: “I used to buy my paper from his shop every morning. I would wear my Hearts scarf to work every day and he would always chat. I never appreciated at the time, what a Hearts legend he was. Glad to have had the pleasure of meeting him.”