Anthony Christopher Shevlane16 March 2023
Chris was born on 6 May 1942 at Morrison Street, Edinburgh and several clubs took an interest in the young defender after he became a Schoolboy Internationalist while at St.Anthony’s Secondary. He also played for the juvenile side, Edina Hearts, from which club Tommy Walker signed him on a Provisional Contract in August 1959.
The apprentice bookbinder was farmed-out to the junior club, Loanhead Mayflower, and he occasionally played for Hearts Colts before being called into the senior squad in November 1960. Chris proved to be strong and resourceful during a period in the reserves and although naturally right-footed, he operated in both full-back positions.
On 2 April 1963, Chris made his competitive debut in a League match against St.Mirren in Paisley. He made a promising start, despite a 7-3 defeat which, in the days before substitutes, was largely due to the loss of injured goalkeeper, Gordon Marshall, after 15 minutes.
In 1963-64, Hearts were able to field one of the best defensive partnerships in Scotland with Jim Cruickshank, Chris Shevlane and Davie Holt. As a result, the team moved up to fourth place in the League and Chris experienced European football against Lausanne Sports. He also gained great experience with the maroons in the New York Soccer League. In addition, the young defender earned the first of four Under-23 International caps, playing against Wales on 4 December 1963.
The following year, he added two appearances for the Scottish Football League and was a target for English clubs, particularly Liverpool, who made several attempts to secure his services. They were reported willing to pay £35,000 for possibly the best full-back prospect in Britain.
Chris was appointed captain of Hearts for season 1964-65 and he played his part as the team made a brave challenge in the League Championship, but finished runners-up after losing on the final day of the campaign against Kilmarnock. He missed that crucial game. because Chris felt that the strain of being captain adversely affected his performance and asked to be relieved of the position. He subsequently lost his place in the team to Danny Ferguson, but had helped the team mount a superb challenge for the title.
Chris was back in form in 1965-66 and although Hearts fell back to seventh in the League, it was reported that Chelsea were to make an offer for the 23-year old defender. There was no movement and regretfully, the following season, Chris suffered a series of ankle injuries. Despite specialist treatment, in April 1967, he was advised to retire from the game rather than risk permanent damage. Chris Shevlane had made 146 competitive appearances for Hearts and scored two goals. With other matches included this was 162 games in maroon.
His injury eased sufficiently to allow a comeback and Chris was a back-up defender with Celtic in 1967-68. He then joined his favourite club, Hibernian, for three seasons and made 91 appearances, including the League Cup Final in April 1969. Chris subsequently played for Greenock Morton before retiring in April 1973 and operating Shevlane’s Bar in Springburn, Glasgow.
Our sincere condolences are extended to his family and friends.