By: Hibernian Media on 10 Oct, 2018 16:00
Hibernian legend Jackie McNamara Sr. looked back on his move to Hibernian and spoke of the love that blossomed from the moment he signed to the present day.
In a controversial move, Pat Stanton was transferred to Celtic with Jackie arriving as his replacement, with the incoming player receiving a less than warm welcome as an iconic figurehead, boyhood supporter of the club and 1972 League Cup winning captain travelled west on the M8.
At the time, Jackie had sustained a serious injury with a torn cruciate. Trainer Tom McNiven helped the defender recover successfully from his injury, which saw him miss a huge chunk of his debut season and also saw him develop his love of the club in the process.
At Eden Mill Blendworks last week he worked with Tony Higgins, Murdo MacLeod, Lewis Stevenson and David Gray to create a new collaboration gin with our official gin partners, and he spoke in details about his move to Leith in 1976.
He said: “I think it was well-documented that I didn’t know that I was swapping for the King and I was getting booed on my way through to Easter Road. But, I managed to overcome that by getting injured and being out the game for five months!
“My cruciate went and then Hibs saved my career. I was helped through it by the club and a wonderful man named Tom McNiven. The rest is history.
“At Celtic, I really liked Jock Stein. He was a good manager and I loved working under him, and the move just made me even more determined to prove him wrong. I had a serious injury that Celtic didn’t know how to deal with as cruciate injuries were unheard of.
“Fortunately, Eddie Turnbull took a chance on me, otherwise I was on the scrapheap at 24 years old.
“It was the best move that I ever made coming to Hibs and moving through to Edinburgh with my family.”
Jackie went on to win over the supporters of the club as he played 309 times in green and white.
He eventually transformed into a sweeper and impressed with his calm and assured displays, solidifying the team and defending with a gritty determination blended with class.
After playing so many games for the Easter Road side he gained many friends during his time in Leith and still meets with them regularly. He also has many highlights, with the marathon 1979 Scottish Cup Final against Rangers and his testimonial against Newcastle United in 1984 those than stand out the most.
“I meet my colleagues from the 70s all the time,” said Jackie. He continued: “Guys like John Brownlie, Ralph Callachan, Ally McLeod and guys like that. It’s always great meeting up with them and having a drink with them.
“At my age it’s a wee bit difficult to remember highlights, but we had some great nights together, some good victories together, but the 1979 Scottish Cup Final stands out for me.
“We really should have won it. I didn’t understand the significance then, but I realised the significance of not having won it since 1902 later. It was disappointing for the fact that we were better than Rangers and should have won it, but it was a great experience playing in a cup final for the club.
“My testimonial against Newcastle was of course another highlight.”
Jackie’s love and devotion to the club is plain for all to see as he has worked with Hibernian Supporters Limited since its inception and is still at the forefront of many of their campaigns.
He, like many supporters, pay to fund the purchase of shares for HSL whilst simultaneously contributing a significant financial sum to the club’s transfer fund.
Jackie says that he is proud to support Hibernian and HSL and believes that current manager Neil Lennon is doing a fantastic job
To find out more about HSL, click here to visit their website.
He said: “I feel proud and delighted to support the Hibs. I was delighted when we won the Scottish Cup under Alan Stubbs. I think Neil Lennon is doing a brilliant job and I love watching the team just now.
“I wanted to get involved with HSL because I believe in fan participation and fan ownership, then the opportunity came along.
“We all decided that the best way to support your club is by putting your own money in. There’s a number of Hibs supporters who contribute, the same as myself, and paying their £18.75 per month.
“In a way I am proud of the work that we have done. I like to think that the money has helped to pay for some players to come in who have helped us win the Scottish Cup and the league, getting that monkey off our back.”
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