Willie MacFarlane (footballer, born 1930)

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Willie Macfarlane
Personal information
Date of birth (1930-03-17)17 March 1930
Place of birth Leith, Scotland
Date of death 11 March 2010(2010-03-11) (aged 79)
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1953–1958 Hibernian 78 (2)
1958–1961 Raith Rovers 36 (1)
1961 Morton 6 (0)
Total 120 (3)
Teams managed
1967–1968 Hawick Royal Albert
1968–1969 Stirling Albion
1969–1970 Hibernian
1978–1980 Meadowbank Thistle
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Willie MacFarlane (17 March 1930 – 11 March 2010) was a Scottish football player and manager who played for and managed Hibernian.

Early life and playing career

MacFarlane played as a full–back for Hibernian in the 1950s, when the club featured the forward line known as The Famous Five.[1] He was born in Leith and brought up in the same area (Hutchison) as goalkeeper Tommy Younger, with whom he played for Hutchison Vale and the Army.[1][2] Both players were then signed for Hibs by manager Hugh Shaw.[1] He was taken by Hibs on a tour of Brazil in 1953 to play in three games in the Maracana stadium against Vasco da Gama, Botafogo and Fluminense.[1] MacFarlane also played for Hibs in the first season of the European Cup,[1] playing in five of the six matches possible.[2] Hibs eventually lost to Stade Reims in the semi-final, where MacFarlane was pitted against Raymond Kopa.

Former teammate Tommy Preston described MacFarlane as "resolute", "strong" and capable of striking a good free kick.[3]

MacFarlane played for Raith Rovers and Morton later in his playing career.[1]

Managerial career and later life

MacFarlane began his managerial career with East of Scotland League club Hawick Royal Albert.[1] He joined Stirling Albion in March 1968,[4] before taking a similar post at Hibernian in 1969. Chairman William Harrower appointed MacFarlane to replace Bob Shankly, who had resigned.[2] Despite suffering early exits in the two cup competitions, Hibs qualified for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup by finishing third in the Scottish League.[2] During that first season, MacFarlane's team set a club record for consecutive wins.[5] Hibs beat Malmö and Vitória de Guimarães to progress to the third round of the Fairs Cup, where they would lose to Bill Shankly's Liverpool side. That tie with Liverpool led to MacFarlane's departure from Hibs.[2] Chairman Tom Hart, who had just bought the club from Harrower,[2] overruled him on team selection and sacked MacFarlane prior to the match.[3]

MacFarlane "oversaw the early stages of one of the finest ever Hibernian sides".[1] Having signed Erich Schaedler in his previous managerial post at Stirling Albion, MacFarlane made Schaedler his first signing as Hibs manager.[4] He moved John Brownlie from playing in central defence to an attacking full back role, an "inspirational" choice.[1] Having sold Peter Marinello to Arsenal for a record transfer fee, MacFarlane then signed Falkirk player Johnny Graham, who scored a hat-trick in his first game.[1] He also signed Arthur Duncan, who went on to set the record for most league appearances for Hibs.[6] Former player John Fraser, who worked as a coach for MacFarlane, described him as an "enthusiastic" manager, who established a good rapport with his players.[3]

After leaving Hibs, MacFarlane had a spell as manager of Meadowbank Thistle between 1978 and 1980.[4] MacFarlane also ran a bookmakers business in Edinburgh and regularly attended matches at Easter Road.[1] He was also a keen golf player and karaoke singer.[5] MacFarlane died in hospital on the morning of 11 March 2010, after a "short illness".[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Willie MacFarlane". Hibernian F.C. 11 March 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Willie MacFarlane". Hibernian Programmes. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Gordon, Moira (12 March 2010). "Figures from Hibs' past and present line up to praise MacFarlane's legacy". The Scotsman. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  4. ^ a b c "Former Managers". Stirling Albion F.C. 8 March 2008. Archived from the original on 17 October 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  5. ^ a b c McLaughlin, Mark (12 March 2010). "Hibs legend Willie Macfarlane dies a week shy of his 80th". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  6. ^ Gibson, John (30 June 2008). "Arthur's off on a winger and a prayer". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 12 March 2010.

External links

  • Willie MacFarlane at Post War English & Scottish Football League A–Z Player's Database
  • Obituary in The Herald, 13 March 2010
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