As a legend at Easter Road, he was renowned for his crucial late goalscoring ability.
But now, a footballing charity is hoping to launch its own “last-minute” bid to save a historic piece of Scottish sporting memorabilia for a new generation of fans.
The Hibernian Historical Trust is aiming to fund the purchase of two Scottish League Championship medals won by all-time great Lawrie Reilly when they go under the hammer later this week – with the promise they will be displayed at Easter Road should the campaign prove to be successful.
The nine-carat gold medals, due to go up for auction in the capital on Thursday, were awarded after the club’s consecutive league title successes in 1951 and 1952, and feature an engraving of Reilly’s name and achievements on the reverse.
Hibs icon Reilly – who earned the “Last-Minute” moniker for his late strikes against England and Northern Ireland while representing the national side – was one of the revered Famous Five forward line alongside Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond, who starred during the club’s golden era in the late 1940s and early ’50s.
The forward scored 238 goals in 333 games for the men in green and white and earned 38 caps for his country, netting 22 times.
Reilly passed away in July 2013 at the age of 84 and Trust curator Tom Wright said they were “absolutely determined” to see the medals preserved back at Easter Road.
“This is the holy grail for Hibs memorabilia and the mark of a true club legend.
“Lawrie was Hibs’ most capped player, our top goalscorer in competitive action and a phenomenal ambassador for the club after his playing days. It is only right that his achievements are properly displayed and celebrated at Easter Road.
“Already on display at the stadium, we have several of his playing jerseys, signed images and pairs of his boots. This would complete the set. We are absolutely determined to get them.”
The medals, which represent Hibernian’s last two top-flight title wins, have been valued at between £1,000-£2,000 by auctioneers Thomson Roddick. Senior valuer Gavin Lindsay described the set, put up for sale by an anonymous seller, as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.
He said: “This is a very rare chance to purchase both of the medals presented to one of the heroes of those consecutive championship-winning sides – a feat it would be very difficult to repeat.”
Mr Wright added that fans had enthusiastically backed the bid, saying the Trust had received several “substantial” donations to help secure the purchase.
He said: “The response from the fans has been absolutely fantastic and we’ve had some tremendous backings.
“There is a huge understanding of just what Lawrie meant to everyone at the club. No matter what age the fans are, they all know his name.”
He added: “I was lucky enough to see him play, but for those who were not, it is absolutely vital that we preserve that part of our history for future generations. I just hope we can do it on Thursday.”