Trib­utes to a leg­end

Hamil­ton leg­end John Lam­bie dies at age of 77

Hamilton Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Andy Mcgilvray

Trib­utes were this week paid to former Hamil­ton Ac­cies man­ager John Lam­bie, who sadly passed away on Tues­day, aged 77. One of the true char­ac­ters of Scot­tish foot­ball, he was de­scribed as a‘gem’.

John Lam­bie peers at me ei­ther side of a smoul­der­ing cigar and asks: “Have you ever been to Fuen­girola?” as I walk into his of­fice at Partick This­tle’s Firhill Sta­dium.

He has never met me be­fore but when I say that I haven’t, he says ‘You should go, son, the beach is mar­vel­lous’.

That’s John Lam­bie to a tee. A to­tal char­ac­ter, a real foot­ball man and de­spite his ac­com­plish­ments in the game – which in­clude twice tak­ing Hamil­ton Ac­cies to the Premier League and beat­ing Rangers at Ibrox in THAT Scot­tish Cup game in 1987 – he was in­cred­i­bly down to earth.

It was with a mas­sive amount of sad­ness that I heard on Tues­day of his death at just 77. I met the man once and spoke to him on the phone on an­other oc­ca­sion but his char­ac­ter left a mark.

On the ‘Fuen­girola’ oc­ca­sion I was com­pil­ing a spe­cial on then-sec­ond Divi­sion side Ac­cies be­ing paired with Premier League team This­tle at Firhill in the fourth round of the Scot­tish Cup in sea­son 2003/04.

This­tle won 5-1 on the day but I had trav­elled to Mary­hill to speak to John on a day off. He had me in stitches sev­eral times – he was a funny man.

Fast-for­ward to Jan­uary of last year and I called John to get his take on the 30th an­niver­sary of Hamil­ton’s Scot­tish Cup win at Ibrox.

He didn’t recog­nise the num­ber but picked up im­me­di­ately and started talk­ing away about his times at old Dou­glas Park.

Lam­bie won the First Divi­sion with Hamil­ton in 1986 and 1988, with their only other ti­tle win in that divi­sion com­ing under Billy Reid in 2007/08.

Many felt the win over Graeme Souness’s starstud­ded Rangers side at Ibrox would have been a stand-out but Lam­bie felt those ti­tle wins were the best of his ca­reer in La­nark­shire.

Lam­bie, then 75, re­mem­bered it like it were yes­ter­day, say­ing: “That was a right good re­sult, con­sid­er­ing the team they had out.

“Guys like Terry Butcher, Gra­ham Roberts and Chris Woods. We beat a very good team that day, one that was worth mil­lions and was full of in­ter­na­tion­al­ists – it was un­be­liev­able that we won.

“We were very dis­ci­plined on the day and Kevin Mc­kee had Terry Butcher in his back pocket, which was no mean feat. Those were good times and ev­ery­body was on a high.

“It’s fair to say that is the best re­sult in Hamil­ton’s his­tory and it was a great day – but we got put out by Mother­well in the next round.”

De­spite the enor­mity of that re­sult – which was the last time Hamil­ton had de­feated Rangers in Go­van un­til ear­lier this sea­son – John said it wasn’t his pin­na­cle.

“Beat­ing Rangers isn’t my favourite mem­ory from my time at Hamil­ton though, I would say you have to look at it over the years,” he said.

“When I went to Hamil­ton in 1984 it was a sham­bles and needed to be cleared out from top to bot­tom. Where we were, what hap­pened and get­ting into the Premier League twice was an amazing achieve­ment. It’s what you do over the years that counts.

“I count clear­ing the place out and win­ning pro­mo­tion twice as bet­ter achieve­ments than beat­ing Rangers.

“There were good times. The old Ac­cies was a nightmare but they gave me a start in life and I ap­pre­ci­ate it.”

John Lam­bie, a full-back, was born in Whit­burn on March 19, 1941 and died on Tues­day, April 10, 2018.

When I went to Hamil­ton in 1984 it was a sham­bles

Sad loss John Lam­bie

Big wel­come back John Lam­bie greets Hamil­ton’s play­ers upon his re­turn in 1989, be­fore lead­ing them back up to the First Divi­sion that sea­son

Tri­umph John Lam­bie roars with de­light after steer­ing Hamil­ton to a fa­mous Scot­tish Cup win over Rangers at Ibrox in 1987

The boss John Lam­bie en­joyed two suc­cess­ful stints as Hamil­ton man­ager at Dou­glas Park

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.