THE PLAYERS

 

Players to wear the green and white of the Hibees.

Here is a growing collection of players and internationalists to feature for Hibernian throughout the years.

Position: Forward

Labelled by former Hibernian boss Jock Stein as the most talented individual he ever managed, Willie Hamilton made 74 appearances for Hibernian across all competitions and scored 24 times.

Willie Hamilton ProfileDebut: Partick Thistle (2) vs Hibernian (1) - Division One (Old) - 02/11/1963
Appearances: 74
Goals: 24


Willie Hamilton was born in Chapelhall, Airdrie in 1938 and began his career with Drumpelier Amateurs before joining Sheffield United in 1956.

For five seasons in South Yorkshire, Willie proved to be a captivating player, but also unpredictable and inconsistent. He was also homesick for Scotland so moved to Middlesbrough in 1961 for £12,000, although his stay on Teesside was disrupted by aggravating injuries. After only 10 appearances for Middlesbrough, Willie returned to Scotland and signed for Hearts quickly becoming a big favourite of the Tynecastle crowd.

He scored on his debut against Dundee and helped the team to win the League Cup but with disputes with management about his behaviour lead to a suspension from the club and he was placed on the transfer list.

Hibernian handed Willie a lifeline and signed him in 1963 in a £6,000 transfer. He made his debut in a 2-1 defeat to Partick Thistle and found himself on the score sheet for the first time shortly after in a 1-1 draw with Celtic.

Willie HamiltonHibernian Team 1964/65
Left to Right -
Fraser, Leishman, Wilson, Stanton, McNamee, Stevenson

O'Rourke, Hamilton, Vincent, Martin, Scott

Never a model professional, Willie needed a strong-minded manager to handle him and the arrival of Jock Stein and his management duly knocked some discipline into his life. Team-mates will testify that, although Willie had profound respect for 'Big Jock', he was also absolutely petrified of the man and that Stein would sometimes put up Willie in his own house on the eve of a big match to make sure he did not go out drinking. This fear factor meant there was no room for messing about - he had to play the Stein way and it resulted in the brightest time of his eventful career.

There was a carefree swagger about Willie that made him an irresistible figure to the Hibernian fans and he ran the show against one of the greatest clubs in European football history in a friendly match against Real Madrid at Easter Road in October 1964. Willie's form emitted echoes of the great Bobby Johnstone - arguably the club's greatest ever inside forward - and his exquisitely-taken goal against Hearts in the New Year's Day derby in 1965 was a guarantee of Hibernian immortality.

After Jock Stein departed Hibernian to manage Celtic in 1965, Willie lost his way. Even though Celtic was keen on signing him, Willie left Hibernian for Aston Villa in August 1965. He was sorely missed by both his colleagues and the supporters at Easter Road and his time at Aston Villa came to an abrupt halt after he was involved in a horrific car crash.

He returned to Hearts in 1967 and also played for clubs in South Africa and Australia before finishing his career with brief spells at Ross County and Hamilton Academical.

In 1975, Willie and his young family emigrated to Canada and he returned to his original trade as a bricklayer. Sadly tragedy followed and he died at the premature age of just 38 after suffering a heart attack.

Labelled by former Hibernian boss Jock Stein as the most talented individual he ever managed, Willie Hamilton made 74 appearances for Hibernian across all competitions and scored 24 times.


Full Name: William 'Willie' Murdoch Hamilton
Date of Birth: 16th February 1938
Place of Birth: Chapelhall, Scotland
Date of Death: 22nd October 1976


National Team: Scotland
International Debut: Finland (1) vs Scotland (2) - F.I.F.A. World Cup Qualifier - 27th May 1965

It was his former manager, Jock Stein that gave Willie the opportunity to play for Scotland. Now the manager of the national team, Jock handed him his solitary Scotland cap in a World Cup qualifying win against Finland in front of 20,162 fans.

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