The Hibernian Historical Trust is saddened to learn that Jackie Wren, who played for the club between 1956 and 1960, has passed away aged 84.
Jackie Wren was born in Bonnybridge in 1936. A distant relative of Eddie Turnbull - was first spotted by Hibs when playing for Bo'ness United against the Easter Road side in a friendly and had impressed enough to be immediately offered signing terms.
At that time, the Scottish International Tommy Younger had just joined Liverpool, creating a goalkeeping crisis at Easter Road with only three untried shot-stoppers on the books - Wren, Jim Rollo and Jackie Proudfoot.
Although he had only signed during the summer, Wren's impressive form in the pre-season public trial match had guaranteed quick promotion and, he made his first-team debut in a 6-1 defeat by Hearts in the opening League Cup game at Tynecastle. The youngster perhaps failed to receive the assistance that he could have expected from the more experienced players in front of him.
He would keep his place in the side, however, making 21 appearances that season until the signing of the highly-rated Lawrie Leslie from Newtongrange Star, who would end the season as the man in possession of the first team jersey. The excellent form of Leslie made it extremely difficult for Wren to force himself back into contention making only sporadic first-team appearances during the next couple of seasons, particularly in 1958 when Hibs appeared in the Scottish Cup Final only to lose to Clyde.
During the summer of 1959, Leslie had required an operation on an injured elbow that would threaten his career, and Wren would be thrust back into the side that lost heavily to Rangers in the opening League Cup game at Easter Road. Initially losing his place to the recent signing Willie Wilson from Musselburgh Windsor, an early injury to Wilson would mean a return to first-team action for Wren, and he would be in the Hibs side that defeated Partick Thistle 10-2 at Firhill in December.
A few weeks later Hibs would be defeated 5-1 by local rivals Hearts at Easter Road on New Year's Day, a day incidentally that had seen Gordon Smith making his first appearance back at Easter Road since his transfer to Hearts at the beginning of the season. Perhaps predictably, and probably unfairly, Wren would be the scapegoat for the heavy defeat. It would be unfair, however, to place all the blame on the shoulders of the goalkeeper who quite obviously had once again failed to receive the assistance he would, and should, have expected from his far more experienced team-mates. Still, regardless he would never feature in the first team again.
At that time Hibs had been convinced that Leslie's injury was beyond repair, wrongly as it would turn out, and he was allowed to sign for Airdrie. New signing Willie Muirhead took Wren's place in the side.
A more than competent goalkeeper, Jackie Wren had been unfortunate to have been in the side during the heavy defeats by Rangers and Hearts, particularly as at that time, both the former were the best sides in the country by far while Hibs was going through a so-called transitional stage.
Freed at the end of the season, Wren would join Southend before a move to Rotherham United. Unsettled in England, he would soon return to Scotland where he would have brief spells with Stirling Albion, Falkirk, Dundee United and Berwick Rangers before a move to South Africa to play for Hellenic and Cape Town City. Wren eventually settled in the country living there until his recent, death aged 84.
In all Jackie Wren made 41 competitive appearances for the Easter Road side between 1956 and 1960.
His memory marches on.