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Sean McPartlin


It's January 2, 1956, four weeks short of my fourth birthday. Post-Christmas excitement is in the air, and that's added to by the fact that my Uncle James is staying with us. He's a Franciscan Friar in Dundee, so we don't often see him in Edinburgh; he used to play for Hibs, and he makes me laugh. There's even more excitement when along with Uncle James, my dad and mum, I find myself in a taxi - maybe for the first time ever.

It takes us to Easter Road and I find myself up towards the back of the old West Stand, towards the Dunbar End. I've no idea what's happening, but it's a great feeling. Vaguely aware of something going on, down on the green ground far below, I spend most of my time, back to the pitch, watching my dad and his brother, laughing and joshing each other, as brothers do.

The stats tell me that Hibs drew 2-2 with Hearts in front of just under 61,000 fans. Lawrie Reilly and Willie Ormond score for HIbs, and though I always tell folk I saw the Famous Five play that day, I didn't really, as Combe replaced Bobby Johnstone, who must have been injured.

It was my first football match, and the only time I went to a game with my dad or my uncle. Just over a year later my dad would be dead, and two years later so was Uncle James. Fifty years later I still miss them, and for more reasons than football.

We moved to England after my dad died and I spent the 1960s supporting Southport in the lower divisions, establishing a football-going habit that has never left me.

The next time I saw Hibs was in April 1963, on a visit to my hometown; I badgered a family friend into taking me to a midweek game against Motherwell: Hibs won 1-0, but I missed the goal, as we were finding our seats when Gerry Baker scored.

However, university brought me back to Edinburgh full time in 1970 and Easter Road is a fixture in my life still. I'm so glad that I can say I went to a game with my dad and uncle, it's a memory that means more with each passing year.

In May 1994, my son, aged six, came to his first game at Easter Road - but that's another story...

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In 1972 1st Jan, I set off as a 10 year old with my Granda to Tynecastle for the Ne'erday fixture with Hearts, a huge crowd was inside Tynie, the atmosphere was electric, we did not start that great but by half time it was getting dark the floodlights were on and we were leading 0-5. The Hearts fans were throwing their scarves away and pouring out of Tynecastle, by the end it was 0-7 and I always remember my Granda saying that programme will be worth a lot of money in later years. Stanton, Cropley and Edwards were as classy as I have seen in all my years. Thanks Granda.

– , November 6 2011 at 11:09

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