At his peak, John Brownlie was undoubtedly the best attacking full back in the entire country. Signed by manager Bob Shankly, Brownlie made his debut for Hibs at the end of the 1969/70 season. A few months later he replaced the injured Chris Shevlane in a game against St Johnstone at Muirton Park and never looked back.
John Brownlie. Inducted in 2017.
Making an outstanding contribution on his debut afternoon, setting up two goals in Hibs' 3-1 victory, such was the youngster's impact that he would soon make the right-back position his own.
Uncompromising in the tackle, his cavalier overlapping style and his accurate passing made him a favourite with the fans and the then Scotland manager Bobby Brown. Despite not being in the first-team for a full season, Brownlie earned himself a call-up for Scotland's tour of Russia and Denmark, with the defender winning his first of seven caps in Moscow. He proved he had the temperament for the big occasion as he was one of the games top performers.
The arrival of manager Eddie Turnbull in the early 1970s saw Brownlie at his best and despite ending on the losing side in the hugely disappointing Scottish Cup Final defeat by Celtic, his goal in the League Cup Semi-Final against Rangers at Hampden the following season earned his side a place in the final and the opportunity for revenge against the Parkhead side.
On a memorable December afternoon in 1972 the unforgettable Turnbull's Tornadoes overcame a great Celtic side to win the League Cup for the first time in the club's history with a tremendous display of incisive attacking football. That afternoon every Hibs player was a hero, none more so than Brownlie, his elegant and stylish play constantly causing all kinds of panic in the Celtic defence.
An incredible few weeks followed for the club, victory against Aberdeen at Pittodrie and a more than convincing 8-1 defeat of Ayr United at Easter Road, culminated in a glorious afternoon at Tynecastle on New Year's Day when Brownlie's exciting play helped his side to a famous 7-0 victory.
Tragically, just a few days later in a game against East Fife at Easter Road, Brownlie would break his leg in two places. It was an injury that would keep him out of football for over a year and according to many went some way in depriving the club of that year's league championship.
On his return to full fitness, during the next few years John would take part in many memorable games including another League Cup Final and European ties against Juventus and Liverpool.
After nine seasons at Easter Road, in the summer of 1979 he would join Newcastle United to team up again with his great pal John Blackley, and on Tyneside would become hugely popular with the Newcastle fans.
Later he would play for Middlesbrough, Hartlepool United, a brief spell with the Swedish side Vasalunds, Berwick Rangers and Blyth Spartans before returning to Scotland to manage Cowdenbeath, East Stirling, Meadow Thistle and Arbroath.