Pat Stanton’s 75th Birthday Celebrations at the Usher Hall – a night with living legends

FishNews

Last night I was at Pat Stanton’s 75th Birthday celebration at the Usher Hall with Simone. It was a night where I reverted to being an overawed kid coming face to face with so many heroes and I had to retrain myself from the overwhelming urge to whip out my i phone and irreverently snap away at so many of my idols.

Pat Stanton was the captain of the Hibs team that I grew up with, the truly marvellous and talented ‘Turnbul’s Tornadoes’.
It was probably the greatest Hibs line up outside the ‘Famous Five’ and a team I saw many a time as my dad and I had season tickets at Easter Road in the 70’s.

This was the team that made waves in Europe as well as making history at Tynecastle with a 7-0 victory over Hearts on New Years Day 1973 ( we were there). I saw them lift the league cup at Hampden in December 1972 and my Dad and I stood under the balcony at the North British hotel in Edinburgh after following the open top bus parade and watched Pat raise the trophy high. A moment I’ll never forget.

Pat Stanton was one of the most important and revered players ever in a Hibs jersey. A Beckenbauer who could turn a game in an instant driving from defence and finding spaces in midfield to find a devastating pass. He could carve teams open and at the same time resolutely defend and manage a game with his calm approach and elegant style which combined with bursts of speed made him one of the finest players of his time. Capped for Scotland 16 times he could have made an immense impact south of the border but he stayed in Scotland, moving to Celtic and then on to coach at Aberdeen under sir Alex Ferguson where he trained the likes of Alec McLeish and Gordon Strachan. His career finished early with a knee injury when he was 33 but he remains a living legend amongst the Hibernian family. I was lucky to meet him years ago and discovered him to be an absolute gentleman and an impressive character. A quiet, unassuming man with amazing presence I always find myself in awe of him every time we have met over the years. I was priveledged and humbled to be asked to be part of the celebrations and was interviewed on stage by Grant Stott together with Irvine Welsh, former director Alan Munro and journalist Simon Pia who has written Pat Stanton’s biography ‘The Quiet Man’ We were the only 4 non players in a glittering line up on stage and mingling and chatting with team members from throughout the seasons backstage I felt slightly like an intruder.

John Blackley, Jim O’Rourke, John Brownlie, Alex Edwards and Alex Cropley all part of the ‘Tornadoes’ were there last night as were Steve Archibald, Tony Higgins, Bobby Duncan, Alan McGraw, Willie Hunter, Gordon Rae, Alan Sneddon, Ralph Callachan, John Collins, ‘Yogi’ Hughes, Mickey Weir, Paul Kane, Gordon Hunter, Jackie Macnamara , Ian Murray, Jim McArthur and many many more including Sir Alex Ferguson, Alex McCleish and Gordon Strachan.

It was a fantastic night organised by Paul Kane and Willie McEwan with all proceeds going to Children with Cancer and Leukaemia Advice and Support for Parents (CCLASP) and also Muirfield Riding Therapy.

An emotional ending with Pat’s family joining him on stage and the crowd singing a well deserved rousing ‘happy birthday’ to a Scottish footballing legend.

I was proud to have been a part of it and as I said to Simone as we drove home after the event I only wish my father had been there with us. She said he was. GGTTH