Alex Edwards joined Hibs in 1971, but prior to that the winger enjoyed a great time at his hometown team Dunfermline Athletic.
Aged just 16 years and 5 days, Edwards made his first-team debut for the Pars – making him the second youngest player to feature in a senior Scottish league match. His manager was Jock Stein, who himself would manage Hibernian, was a firm believer in the ability of a player far outweighing his age.
And he was not wrong. Edwards would enjoy a fine spell at Dunfermline – including featuring in the Fife outfit’s stunning 6-2 victory over Spanish giants Valencia at East End Park. To put that into perspective it was the first time a British club had toppled the might of Los Che.
After winning the Scottish Cup in 1968, playing a prominent role on the right-wing in the 3-1 victory over Heart of Midlothian, Edwards remained at Dunfermline for three more years. It was not until 1971 that the thrilling winger moved across the Firth of Forth to play in green and white.
Eddie Turnbull was the manager at the time, and his shrewd acquisition of Edwards came in at £13,000. Unfortunately the beginning of his Hibernian career did not get off to the best of starts as he was ordered off against East Fife and received an eight week ban.
All was soon forgotten and the winger became a prominent part of the Hibs attack, the chemistry displayed between John Brownlie, Pat Stanton and the iconic number seven was a joy to behold for the support on the Easter Road terraces.
The trio were to be a massively important part of the side that won the 1972 League Cup Final, defeating Aberdeen, Dundee United, Airdrieonians and Rangers en route to the famous victory at Hampden Park. The Ibrox side met their match in the semi-final as the skilful and electrifying trio left players with the stature of John Greig and Sandy Jardine chasing shadows. Indeed it was to be a Brownlie goal that sent Hibs into the final.
Hibs had not long lost 6-1 to Celtic in a Scottish Cup Final, and with defeat fresh in the minds of the players, it was easy to believe that they would falter yet again to the powerful Hoops side. But it was not the case.
After bossing the game, with Edwards a pivotal figure in giving defenders such as Billy McNeill a difficult time, Hibs took the lead on the hour mark. From a set-piece the winger found Stanton and the inspirational captain made it 1-0 with a fine finish. Six minutes later and the strings were being pulled by the number seven again. This time his pass found Stanton on the right wing, and with the Celtic defence all at sea, and busy marking Alan Gordon, a cross was headed home by Jimmy O’Rourke to ensure that silverware was heading back to the capital city.
Not even a Kenny Dalglish goal could dent the confidence of Turnbull’s Tornadoes, nor could it stop the side lifting the trophy and parading it along Princes Street – thanks to the industry and guile of Edwards.
In many cases that would be enough to achieve you legendary status at any club, the League Cup was the first major trophy that Hibs had won since 1902, but Edwards kept the good times rolling and continued to help the side hit new heights. It all keep to a nice boil on New Year’s Day, 1973.
Calling the shots on a memorable derby victory, the winger ensured his name was added to folklore as part of the side that demolished rivals Hearts 7-0 at Tynecastle. His exquisite pass to Gordon carved the hosts apart and the forward chested the ball down, before slamming it into the net to net the second goal on that day.
Every time Hibs went forward, the side looked like scoring, and they were lead in attack by Edwards – the chief tormentor of that faithful Edinburgh Derby victory. Sadly, he could not bag a goal for himself.
That sent Hibs top, but it was unfortunate as a few days later things turned sour for the Club – and Edwards himself. East Fife arrived at Easter Road and were set to frustrate the hosts, which got under the skin of Edwards and he threw the ball at an opponent – resulting in an eight week suspension. On that day Brownlie broke his leg – Hibs losing their right-sided duo in one match.
This meant that the Hibs title challenge hit the skids, eventually finishing in third place, but the side had already written themselves into Hibernian folklore.
Edwards played at Hibernian until 1978, before transferring to Arbroath, and he saw his playing days out in a two year spell at the Gayfield club.