European stars come out to play as Murray marks 10 years at Hibs

Fittingly, it was ‘Sunshine on Leith’ yesterday as Hibs heroes turned out in their droves to honour Ian Murray in his testimonial match.

The 30-year-old captain, playing his 10th season at Easter Road across two spells, savoured his big day in the September sun, as a Hibs side drew with a Hibs Legends team before winning on penalties.

Murray’s early spot-kick miss was the only blot on his money-spinning afternoon, which saw Garry O’Connor claim a hat-trick.

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League Cup-winning manager John Collins, who netted a sublime postage stamp strike, fans’ favourite Russell Latapy and Scotland striker Steven Fletcher were among the ‘away’ line-up.

Yet perhaps the biggest draw for the 2,796 crowd was the appearance of France World Cup and European Championship-winning pair Patrick Vieira, 35, and Robert Pires, 37, in Hibs shirts.

Murray, a lifelong Arsenal fan, lined up alongside the former Gunners duo, thanks to Vieira’s friendship with Hibs cult hero Jimmy Boco.

“They were exceptional and I take my hats off to them for coming up,” Murray said. “I spent Saturday night with them as well, we had dinner and a couple of small drinks. It was really good they were willing to spend some time with me outside of the game as well. It’s always interesting to meet guys like that and get their views on football. My committee put on a great game and I’m thankful to them for doing so.”

Murray, who walked out to a standing ovation with baby son Lewis, was handed his chance from 12 yards inside two minutes when O’Connor was felled by Steven Tweed only for Ally Brown to save to his left.

It wasn’t in the script and Murray jokingly pointed to the Legends manager Pat Stanton to sub Brown off.

Murray added: “It was an old-fashioned testimonial, goals at either end, missed penalties. I actually told Ally which way I was going to put it – as in dive the other way!”

O’Connor started the scoring spree by drilling home low on six minutes, before Craig Brewster took advantage of slack defending to level.

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Fletcher, again absent from the Scotland squad as his stand-off with Craig Levein continues, soon stung the gloves of Graham Stack before coming off shortly before half-time.

O’Connor grabbed his second at the back post, but it was sandwiched by goals from Darren Jackson and Stuart Lovell to give the Legends a 3-2 half-time lead.

O’Connor claimed his treble soon after the re-start, netting a penalty – turned down by Murray – after Ivan Sproule had been clipped by Joe Tortolano.

Scott and man-of-the-match Collins, 43, then traded majestic goals, before Brewster made it 5-4.

Scott claimed a late leveller and Latapy’s penalty miss handed Hibs victory in the sudden-death shoot-out.

Before the main event, Hibs Heroes defeated Hibs Fans 4-1, with John Hughes, Keith Wright and Micky Weir featuring.