HIBERNIAN have named four of the five players from the past who will be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame later this year.
Former Scotland keeper Alan Rough, 1960s winger Eric Stevenson and Jimmy O’Rourke, a key member of the Turnbull’s Tornadoes team of the 1970s, have earned a place amongst the greats, whilst long-serving player and coach John Fraser will also be awarded a Lifetime Contribution award at a gala dinner in November.
A fifth spot remains up for grabs after supporters were asked to vote for either Gordon Hunter, Darren Jackson, Keith Wright or Mickey Weir to represent the 1990s era. The quintet will join the likes of Michael Whelahan, Pat Stanton, every member of the lauded Famous Five forward line, Joe Baker and Sir Tom Farmer, who were in the first batch of Hall of Fame inductees back in 2010.
For O’Rourke, a Hibs fan who made his debut as a 16-year-old before going on to score 122 goals in 325 appearances over the course of 12 years at the club – including the winner in the 1972 League Cup final – the recognition will not be accepted lightly. He said: “It’s like a dream come true for me. I’ve been a Hibs supporter since 1950, so to now be honoured in such a way as to be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame is terrific. Words cannot describe how much it means to me. I managed to live the dream. I watch some players these days kiss the Hibs badge, but I didn’t need to do that because everyone knew I supported Hibs.
“I went from standing alongside the Hibs supporters on the terraces to playing for the team and loved every minute of it. I made my debut 50 years ago on the 9th of December 1962 and then, exactly ten years later, I scored the winner in the League Cup final. It was meant to be.” Stevenson, a skilful outside left, joined from Hearts in 1960 and his dedication to the club he grew up supporting was clearly evident through nearly 400 appearances over the course of 11 years.
He said: “This means everything to me. My uncle founded the Bonnyrigg Hibs supporters’ club in 1949-50 and I started going to matches when I was seven. I absolutely worshipped the Famous Five and, when I made my debut for Hibs when I was 17, I was lucky enough to play alongside Willie Ormond. Even now, Lawrie Reilly is my idol, so to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and to have my name mentioned alongside these great players is a very special feeling.” By comparison, Rough’s time at Easter Road was short-lived, with the keeper spending six years with Hibs between 1982 and 1988.
However, the Partick Thistle legend has been nominated to represent the ’80s thanks to the heroics he performed between the sticks, displays that made him a firm fans’ favourite. The 53-times capped former Scotland internationalist commented: “To get this accolade is absolutely fantastic. I was fortunate enough to be here with some fantastic players – Jackie McNamara, Tony Higgins, Ralph Callachan, Bobby Smith and Gordon Rae. We also had a great crop of young players coming through – John Collins, wee Mickey Weir and Eddie May. I’ve got some wonderful memories of my time with Hibs and I’m sure the Hall of Fame event will be a special night.”
Fraser, another boyhood Hibs supporter, served the club for 24 years in total, 14 as a player and ten as a coach. Signed in 1954 as an 18-year-old, the winger played in the Scottish Cup final defeat to Clyde in 1958, but enjoyed happier times by contributing to famous wins over Barcelona and Real Madrid during the 1960s.
The induction ceremony will follow a meal and reception at Easter Road on 9 November.