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 Midfielder

Hibernian have had their fair share of dyed in the wool fans who have made the leap from the Easter Road terracing to the first team.

 

Paul Kane Profile

 

Lawrie Reilly, Pat Stanton, Jimmy O'Rourke, Keith Wright and Mickey Weir immediately spring to mind, but there is another name that deserves to be included in such exalted company, and that's Paul Kane.

Paul's dad Jim was on Hibs' books from 1958 to 1961, although injuries prevented him making the first team, and his career was short lived as he broke a leg in a collision with 'Tubby' Ogston in a reserve game against Aberdeen. Jim's love of the club never left him, and he introduced son Paul to the famous stadium at the age of two, for a game against Motherwell, which in hindsight may have been a bit premature as the youngster caught pneumonia.

Thankfully, Paul recovered and the experience did not put him off supporting his idols, along with his many pals St Mary's School in York Lane, including another Hibs daft laddie, who was in the year above and also went on to captain and manage the Hibs; John Hughes.

Paul had football in his blood, and trained periodically with Meadowbank Thistle under manager Terry Christie, who lived round the corner from the Kane household, but his ambition was always to pull on the green and white jersey, and that soon came to pass.

Paul was signed by Bertie Auld in 1982 after starring for Salvesen in a 3-1 victory against a Hibs select at Riccarton, but his Easter Road career got off to a potentially disastrous start after standing on a rusty nail whilst helping to build the sponsors lounge under the directions of Chairman Kenny Waugh.

Although he only worked under the former Celt for a couple of months before he was replaced by Pat Stanton, Paul was grateful to Auld for providing the opportunity, but he was delighted to see the arrival of his boyhood idol into the manager's office.

Pat brought in fellow Hibs fans Jimmy O'Rourke and George Stewart to assist him, and the trio brought through a 'golden generation' of youngsters, including John Collins, Mickey Weir, Gordon Hunter, Kevin McKee, Calum Milne and Eddie May, all of whom served the club with distinction.

It wasn't long, before the industrious midfielder was thrown into the deep end, making his debut as an 18 year old, against Swansea City in a friendly at Easter Road, directly up against former Liverpool legend Ray Kennedy who gave the teenager a rough time. Paul survived his encounter with Kennedy and made his competative debut soon after in a5-0 League Cup win over Dumbarton.

His first goal for the club came six months later against Dundee in a replay of a game which had been cancelled due to fog with the spectators inside the ground. Because of this, Kenny Waugh took the untypical step of allowing fans in for free, so it was a larger than usual crowd who watched the teenager open his scoring account in a 3-0 win. Willie Irvine and Willie Jamieson also scored that night.

Paul quickly learned from the more experienced players in the team, including another boyhood idol, Jackie McNamara along with Ralph Callaghan, Gordon Rae and Alan Rough, and the youngsters would regularly take part in 5-a-side games against the senior players and management teams, more often than not emerging as winners.

On the pitch however, the results failed to materialise, and Pat Stanton resigned, only to be enticed back by Kenny Waugh. This time he brought in John Blackley as his number two, but the slide continued and eventually he resigned for good. John Blackley took over and brought in Tommy Craig as his assistant, and the players, including Paul benefitted from Craig's coaching style.

The season ended with one of the most pressurised games in the club's history, as Hibs needed to beat Dumbarton to avoid relegation. The club laid on free buses to Boghead, guaranteeing a large travelling support and the players responded, winning 3-1, much to everyone's relief.

The following season, with a mixture of youth and experience, John Blackley's team progressed in the League Cup, beating Celtic in the quarter final, although Paul missed the famous 4-4 draw having fractured a cheekbone in a league game at Tynecastle. He also missed the first leg of the semi-final at Easter Road against Rangers, although the team didn't miss him, winning 2-0. Paul returned for the second leg where the Hibs fans took over the Broomloan stand at Ibrox, and even though Rangers won with a Davie Cooper goal, Hibs progressed to the final, thanks mainly to an inspired performance from Alan Rough.

The final however was a step too far for the youngsters, as Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen, which contained international players of the calibre of Alex McLeish, Jim Leighton and Willie Miller, easily took the trophy 3-0, although Paul almost gave Hibs the lead with a stunning 35 yard strike which Leighton did well to save.

Hibs also reached the Scottish Cup semi-final which took place at Dens Park, and mirrored the Hampden final, with Hibs almost taking the lead through John Collins, before the Dons scored three times to secure their place at the national stadium, which they also won 3-0 against Hearts.

The league form that season however was not up to the same standard as the cup games, but Paul put that down to the reconstruction work being done on the east terracing which created an eerie atmosphere, affecting the home advantage.

Despite starting the 85/86 season in style by beating Graham Souness's Rangers, a game Paul missed, the players were unable to reach the same standards against lesser teams, and a run of poor form saw John Blackley replaced, initially by Tommy Craig as caretaker, then Alex Miller. On his arrival at Easter Road from St Mirren, Miller spoke highly of Paul, claiming that he had tried to sign him for the Buddies.

A change of ownership saw money being made available to Miller and some quality signings arrived in Leith, including a certain Andy Goram.

Shortly after Goram arrived, both he and Paul played a major part in a historic win over city rivals Hearts at Easter Road. Amazingly Hibs had not beaten Hearts for 10 years, but an Eddie May goal gave the fans hope before the stadium erupted in a sea of green, when Paul added a second with a header from a corner kick to secure the win.

Another quality signing made a big impression on Paul, both on and off the field. Steve Archibald arrived from Barcelona with the reputation of being a loner, and he made quite a stir, turning up for training in a Rolls Royce, but he fitted into the team quickly and made an invaluable contribution of 16 goals which ensured a UEFA Cup spot.

Paul helped end another Hearts hoodoo, scoring the opener in a famous 2-1 win at Tynecastle, the first for twenty years, with a flying header, although the game is probably better remembered for Archibald's late goal which sealed the victory.

Although Paul never won a senior medal with Hibs, he was the tournament top scorer when the club won the Tennent's Sixes at the SECC in Glasgow. The first game was a 0-0 draw with Rangers which Hibs won 4-2 on penalties, before Paul scored a hat-trick in the 5-1 win over Dundee United. Paul was again on target with both goals in the 2-0 win over St Mirren and another in the 3-0 over Dundee which set up an all Edinburgh semi-final. The mini derby ended 1-1 with Paul scoring for Hibs, but the hero was Andy Goram saving three of the Hearts penalties as Hibs progressed 2-1.

Paul also scored in the final against St Mirren which ended 2-0, and Hibs collected a cheque for £16,000.

The following season, Paul played a part in a game that many consider to have been the European performance from any Hibs team, and whilst that may be an exaggeration, a 3-0 away victory against a team of Videoton's standing speaks for itself.

Hibs had travelled to Hungary with a slender 1-0 advantage from the first leg and took an early lead when Keith Houchen headed in a Graham Mitchell cross. Gareth Evans added a second and John Collins a third to cap a wonderful evening.

Hibs were unlucky to lose to FC Liege in the next round, and a few months later, Paul was to leave his beloved Hibs, citing not being able to command a regular position as the reason. Being selected in a variety of roles had affected his form, and Paul had been on month to month contracts before accepting an offer from former Everton great Joe Royle who guaranteed a regular midfield start at Boundary Park for Oldham Athletic.

In eight years at Easter Road, he made 292 appearances in all competitions and scored 42 goals, and he left with the best wishes of the supporters.

As Paul was adapting to his new surrounding however, Wallace Mercer's abortive takeover bid took place and he kept in touch with goings on through Jimmy O'Rourke and George Stewart. That summer, Paul returned to Edinburgh for the Hands off Hibs rally at Easter Road.

Paul went on to make 21 appearances under Royle for the Latics before returning to Scotland with Aberdeen, making his debut against Hibs at Easter Road where he received a warm welcome from the Hibs fans.

In his first full season at Pittodrie, the Dons finished second in the league and reached both the League Cup and Scottish Cup finals, losing both to Rangers, although Paul didn't feature in either. The following year, Aberdeen again finished second behind champions Rangers.

In four years with the Dons he made 118 appearances, finding the net on eleven occasions. After a loan spell at Barnsley, Paul joined Norwegian club Viking in 1996, before joining St. Johnstone, for whom he played 138 times, scoring six goals in a five year spell.

In his first season, the Saints finished fifth, but the following year they achieved their highest ever top fight finish by finishing third.

His final club was Clyde, for whom he played 20 times, scoring once. Paul had intended to retire at the end of that season but decided to stop playing in April 2003, three months before his 38th birthday.

Paul's love of Hibs continued throughout his playing career and even more so since his retirement. A few years ago he decided to start a former Hibs players association, and is now the chairman with Lawrie Reilly honorary president. The association has over one hundred members, spread throughout the world.

He has since owned the 'Four in Hand' pub on Easter Road.

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