Club News

Johnny Hamilton

14th August 2013

Club saddened at passing of popular former winger who was a League and Cup winner.

Heart of Midlothian FC today pays tribute to one of its legendary figures, Johnny Hamilton, after the former winger passed away recently aged 78.

"Wee Hammy" as he was affectionately known, was born in Lanarkshire in January 1935 and developed into a very fine traditional winger who was comfortable on either the right or left flank.

He also became one of the most popular personalities at Tynecastle, after learning his trade with Larkhall Rangers Amateur FC, Kirkmuirhill Juveniles and Birkenshaw Welfare Hearts. Johnny then stepped up to Lesmahagow Juniors where he attracted the attention of many senior clubs before signing for Hearts in April 1955 for a fee of £100.

Johnny was lightly built, being 5'7" and 10st. 2lbs but he was full of speed and energy, even though he combined his football with his job at Stepps and then Woolmet Collieries.

His dribbling skills and incisive running endeared him to the crowd and he went right into the first team squad in 1955-56. Indeed he won his first U23 cap in February 1956. Johnny had early competition from Ian Crawford and Alex Young and played only four games when Hearts won the Championship in 1957-58.

However, he did score four important goals and was outstanding when Hearts beat Scotland 3-2 in March 1958, in a World Cup Trial.

He soon became an important part of the Hearts team and earned winners' medals in three League Cup Finals: 1958-59, 1959-60 and 1962-63.

Johnny actually scored in the first two of these finals. He represented the Scottish League in 1958-59 and then the following season was prominent in the League Championship-winning side, scoring seven goals in 27 appearances.

The wee winger played in many of Hearts' first European games, including the home leg against Standard Liege in the 1958 Champions Cup, when the Maroons recorded their first competitive win against Continental opposition.

Johnny also represented the club on prestigious tours including those to Australia and North America. In a long and glittering career, Johnny came close to adding more winners' medals to his collection, as he twice helped Hearts to runners-up position in the League and also to the League Cup Final in October 1961.

Johnny was released in April 1967 after scoring a sensational 157 goals in 496 appearances. Of these, 392 were in competitive games during which "Wee Hammy" hit a total of 119 goals which were usually followed by extravagant celebrations.

He signed for Watford in May 1967 and later played for Berwick Rangers before retiring in 1973.

Johnny was Hearts' youth coach from 1974-79 and for many years he had a newsagent's shop in Slateford Road.

A keen golfer, he was also a regular visitor to his local gym in Corstorphine.

Heart of Midlothian FC would like to extend its condolences to Johnny's family at this sad time and would like to advise supporters that a minute's applause will be held at our next home game against Aberdeen on Saturday, August 24 (3pm).

On HeartsTV today, manager Gary Locke reflects on the derby triumph and looks ahead to Friday night football against Partick Thistle at Firhill.