Earlier this year five new members were inducted into the Hibernian FC Hall of Fame at a sold-out event in the George Hotel.
A panel of five, comprised of John Fraser, Pat Stanton, Frank Dougan, Rod Petrie and Tom Wright were charged with identifying the new inductees, with the only stipulation that the individuals should be retired from football.
With many names to choose from and after careful consideration, Jimmy McColl, Tommy Preston, Peter Cormack, John Brownlie and Alex Cropley were selected.
Jimmy McColl served the club as a player, assistant trainer, trainer, reserve team manager and finally odd job man around the ground.
His move from Parkhead to Easter Road in 1922 saw him part of the celebrated side that contested the 1923 and 1924 Scottish Cup Finals and he later became the first Hibs player to score 100 league goals for the club.He died in Edinburgh on 7 March 1978 aged 86.
Tommy Preston started the 1955 season deputising for the ill Lawrie Reilly and would rarely, barring injuries be out of the side during the next ten years.
His most important goals would be scoring in both legs of Hibs’ famous Fairs Cup victory over Barcelona in 1960-61, but his personal favourite goals would be reserved for a game in Gorgie. To inaugurate the opening of the Hearts floodlights in 1957, Tommy scored three in Hibs’ 4-2 victory. A very young Joe Baker scoring the other, leaving the former Hearts supporter Preston to claim that there had been no better place to score a hat-trick than at Tynecastle.
Latterly Tommy was to be found at Easter Road on match days as a guest of the club. He died on 16 April 2015, aged 82.
Peter Cormack made a goal scoring debut against Airdrie in November 1962. It would be the first of almost 100 goals he would score as a member of the tremendous Hibs side of the late 1960’s. A particular goal that stands out is when the 18-year-old Cormack scored Hibs first goal in the famous 2-0 victory over the great Real Madrid in a glamour friendly at Easter Road in 1964.
Capped several times at both under-23 and inter-league level he made his full Scotland debut in a friendly against the reigning World Champions Brazil including the great Pele, in a friendly at Hampden in 1966 and did his reputation no harm.
After almost 300 appearances at Easter Road, in 1970 he moved to Nottingham Forest in a £80,000 deal, spending just over two years at the City Ground where he became a great favourite with the fans, later joining the great Liverpool side of the 1970’s. At Anfield he would come into his own, winning Championship, UEFA Cup and FA Cup winner’s medals, and was once described by the legendary Bill Shankly as one of his all-time Liverpool greats. Praise indeed.
Born in Aldershot Alex Cropley made history when he became one of the first players born outside the country to represent Scotland.
An integral member of the great Turnbull’s Tornadoes side that won the League Cup in 1972 he was also a regular goal scorer against Hearts including a tremendous 25 yard drive in the 7-0 victory at Tynecastle on New Year’s Day 1973.
Two years later he joined Arsenal in a £150,000 deal then moved to Aston Villa where he helped the club win the English League Cup.
A number of serious injuries hampered his career south of the border although he remains popular amongst supporters of every club he played for.
At his peak John Brownlie was undoubtedly the best attacking full back in the entire country if not Europe.
His cavalier overlapping style and his accurate passing earned him a cap for Scotland as a teenager.
His goal in the League Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden secured a place in the final then on a memorable December afternoon in 1972 the unforgettable Turnbull’s Tornadoes overcame a great Celtic side to win the League Cup for the first time in the club’s history.
Three weeks later at Tynecastle on New Year’s Day his exciting play helped his side to a famous 7-0 victory.
After nine seasons at Easter Road, in the summer on 1979 he would join Newcastle United to team up again with his great pal John Blackley, and on Tyneside would become hugely popular with the Newcastle fans.
After the induction John told the Edinburgh Reporter: “It was a really nice surprise to be inducted into the Hibernian Hall of Fame. It was a great night and I was delighted to see my old team mate Alex Cropley inducted along with Peter Cormack who left the club as I was joining the groundstaff.
“It’s a great honour be a part of the history of the club alongside the Famous Five.
“Looking back I have many happy memories and highlights but the main one was winning the League Cup against Celtic, especially after having lost to them in the Scottish Cup final a few months before.
“Other highlights include beating Hearts 7-0 at Tynecastle, overcoming a 2-1 deficit to beat Sporting Lisbon and beating Celtic 5-3 in the Drybrough Cup final.
“It was only after joining Newcastle United that I realised how good that Hibs’ team was and I’m sure players such as Pat (Stanton) Alex Edwards, Alex Cropley and John Blackley could have held their own against anyone.
“I am a member of the Hibs Former Players Association so I see Pat and Jackie (MacNamara) regularly and still see Sloop (John Blackley), Jim Black and Jim Herriott who live near me.
“I still get to a few game at Easter Road and I have no doubt that Hibs will win the League this season. I was through at the Scottish Cup Final last year and in Edinburgh on the Sunday but I think they will do well to retain it as Celtic have a really strong side this season.”