THE MANAGERS

 

From Hugh Shaw to Neil Lennon - know more about Hibernian's managers.

Here is a comprehensive collection of managers to have sat in the Hibee hotseat.

1936 - 1948
(484 games as manager)

Described at the time, along with Harry Swan and Hugh Shaw, as one of the architects of the modern Hibernian, manager Willie McCartney joined the club in the summer of 1936.

 

Willie McCartney Manager

 

The club had been in the doldrums for several years, culminating in relegation in 1931 although promotion was achieved before the new manager's arrival.

Unlike his father, who had spent some time with Rangers and had played for Cowlairs against Hibs in the match arranged to commemorate the official opening of the first Celtic Park in May 1888, Willie had not played the game at any serious level, preferring instead to make his name as a referee.

During his first few years with Hibernian, leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War, the team's form was again inconsistent although there were signs of definite, all be it slow, progress. It was, however, during the war years Hibs began their rise to greatness.

Several promising youngsters who had been signed immediately prior to or soon after the outbreak of war, including Willie Finnigan, Sammy Kean, Bobby Combe and the great Gordon Smith, were to benefit greatly by playing alongside experienced guest players such as Liverpool's Matt Busby, Bobby Baxter of Middlesbrough and Everton's Jimmy Caskie. Under McCartney's leadership Hibs would challenge Rangers near monopoly of the Scottish Game, winning the inaugural Summer Cup in 1941, and start to take giant steps towards fulfilling Harry Swan's earlier bold, some say rash, promise that given 10 years he would make Hibernian great again.

It was in the immediate post war years, however - arguably the greatest ever period in the Scottish game - which saw Hibs rise to true greatness. By now most of the promising young players had matured, and McCartney would mould a side which would secure Hibernian's first Championship win since 1903.

Sadly he would not live to see the triumph. In January 1948, just a few weeks before League title success was assured, he complained of feeling unwell near the end of a Scottish Cup tie against Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill. Taken by car to his home in Queensferry Road, he died later that night, the result of a massive coronary.

A large crowd attended his funeral at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh, many from the world of football, including representatives of both the Scottish League and the SFA, the coffin borne into the chapel by several senior players. Many famous Hearts players who had played under his stewardship at Tynecastle were also in attendance.

Within days of McCartney's death trainer Hugh Shaw, himself a prominent player in the great Hibernian team of the 1920s, would succeed McCartney as manager at Easter Road.

Although the popular Shaw would preside over Hibernian's most successful ever period, there is absolutely no doubt Willie McCartney had lain the foundations not only for these successes, but for the emergence of the Famous Five a few months later, and ultimately the Hibs side which created history by becoming the first British team to participate on the competitive European stage in 1955.

 


 

Full name William McCartney

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