John Paterson, footballer, born 1926, died ,

January 14, 2000

A stalwart at centre-half and full-back in the great post-

Second World War Hibernian FC team who won two consecutive League Championship titles between 1950 and 1952, John Paterson was robbed by dint of his English birthplace from wearing the dark blue of Scotland many believe he would otherwise have done.

Paterson was the son of a

regimental sergeant major in the Royal Scots, who were stationed in the Essex garrison town of Colchester when he was born in 1926. Under Scottish Football Association rules at that time, a player's place of birth was taken into account when considering whether he was eligible for Scotland, so Paterson was denied the full cap that was almost certainly his due after many cultured performances at the centre of a Hibs defence that conceded only 30 goals in the championship-winning season of 1950-1951.

After returning to the Penicuik area from England, the young Paterson signed for Hibs in 1944 from Penicuik Thistle after being spotted by that great architect of Hibs' post-war success, Willie McCartney.

However, a spell of National Service in the Black Watch combined with the impressive form of the then first-team centre-half, Peter Aird, meant that Paterson, whose renowned speed and immaculate passing skills characterised his play, had to wait until 1949 before making his mark in a Hibs side who then routinely vied with Rangers for championship glory in which his partnership with Archie Buchanan and Bobby Combe is still remembered.

Paterson played in the Hibs team who defeated Bayern Munich 6-1 in Munich in 1950 and also in the team who drew in Brazil's Maracana stadium with Brazilian champions Vasco de Gama in 1953.

An injury sustained against Dundee in April 1958 robbed Paterson of what would have been his only Scottish Cup final appearance, against Clyde at Hampden. Former team-mate Tommy Preston remains convinced that had Hibs enjoyed Paterson's rock-steady influence in defence, they would have prevented Clyde centre-forward John Coyle scoring what proved the only goal of the game.

Paterson was a great sporting all-rounder who set a course record at Glencorse Golf Club that stood for two years. He was also an excellent cricketer for the Penicuik club.

A representative for a nationally renowned Scottish whisky distiller when not playing for Hibs, Paterson was famed for his ubiquitous bowler hat and dapper dress sense.

John Paterson leaves a wife and two sons, John and Craig, who followed his famous dad as centre-half in the Hibernian side of the 1980s before playing for Rangers and Motherwell.

Brian Donald