Wattie devoted his life to Hibees

HE missed only one Hibs match in 55 years – and that was only because he had to attend his father's funeral.

Walter "Wattie" Robb, one of the Easter Road side's best-known and most committed supporters, has died. Hundreds of mourners, including past and present players and manager John Hughes, were expected to pay tribute to the 74-year-old at a service today.

Appropriately, he was due to be laid to rest in his Hibs strip, in a green coffin at Mortonhall Cemetery following a service at the nearby crematorium, while mourners were requested to wear green and white, not black, to the funeral.

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He was well-known for his devotion to the club, and became a walking encyclopedia, not only of all things Hibs but of Scottish football in general.

His younger brother Alan said going to Easter Road dominated his life. He said: "When I was getting married Wattie warned me not to make it a Saturday when Hibs were playing because he simply wouldn't be coming. The only game Wattie missed, a friendly against Aston Villa, was on the day of our father's funeral."

Although born in Grangemouth, Mr Robb became a staunch Hibs supporter after spending the first 20 years of his life in Rossie Place, just off Easter Road.

His favourite player of all time was Famous Five legend Gordon Smith, while striker Derek Riordan was the current favourite, and his greatest memory was Hibs' 7-0 derby win at Tynecastle on New Year's Day 1973.

However, he was slower to warm to manager John Hughes, who took on the job in June this year.

Hughes, who dedicated Saturday's win over Aberdeen to Mr Robb, said: "The first time I met him he told me I was rubbish. Wattie was what you call a supporter. If you were to have a definition of football supporter in a dictionary it would simply read 'Wattie Robb'. He'll be sorely missed."

His friend Willie McEwan recalled the time he met his idol Gordon Smith. He said: "They were having an awards ceremony for the Famous Five and Wattie didn't know that he was going to be presenting Gordon Smith with a plaque. When he found out, he was like a wee boy at Christmas."

Mr Robb travelled all over Scotland to watch his favourite side, and also abroad, often in the company of Frank Dougan, the Hibs Supporters' Association treasurer.

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Mr Dougan said: "One trip I remember well was going to a pre-season friendly in Austria two years ago. We'd left in plenty of time to catch our flight from Stansted Airport only to be caught in a five-hour delay because of an accident on the motorway. We just drove on to Dover, caught the ferry and got there an hour before kick-off."

Mr Robb was also a passionate supporter of Hibs' young players, and a collection was due to be taken today, with the money donated going to the club's youth academy.