By: Hibernian Media on 03 Mar, 2017 10:00
A product of Tynecastle Boys Club the young Peter Cormack was signed by Hearts directly from school and became the first ground staff boy at Tynecastle since the great Tommy Walker in the 1930’s.
However, an episode that Peter himself describes as a brush between a grass cutting machine and damage to the perimeter wall of the pitch hastened the end of his time in Gorgie and he was quickly snapped up by Hibs.
At Easter Road, a series of impressive performances for the reserves earned him quick promotion and he 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.
Once described as a skinny kid built like a greyhound, he was as hard as nails, his fiery fiercely competitive nature earning him several altercations with officialdom.
According to a popular Hibs player of the time, Peter could do everything, pass, beat a man, tackle and head the ball. The versatile Cormack could also play anywhere, out wide, midfield, up front and even in goal as he once demonstrated when keeping a clean sheet for most of the match against St Mirren after goalkeeper Willie Wilson had gone off injured.
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.
A spell with Bristol City followed, Peter even managing to get himself sent-off during an Anglo Scottish Cup game against Hibs as City went on to win the cup that year, defeating St Mirren in the final.
Turning down offers to play in America, in February 1980 Cormack made a return to Easter Road where he would line up alongside George Best, but unfortunately he could do little to prevent the club’s slide into relegation.
A move to Partick Thistle followed, eventually taking over as manager of the Firhill side. He also had spells managing in Cyprus and Botswana before returning yet again to Easter Road as assistant to manager Alex Miller, retiring from the game in 2002 after spells managing Cowdenbeath and Morton.