Johnny Hamilton


As a not infrequent spectator at Hearts' Tynecastle games in the 1950s, allow me to add to Ivan Ponting's affectionately cheerful obituary of Johnny Hamilton (12 October), writes Tam Dalyell. It was well known in Edinburgh that before each game "Wee Hammy" would fastidiously take out his two plates of false teeth and place them carefully in a tumbler in his locker. This dressing-room ritual was also known to "Tiny" Wharton, the legendary and imposing 6ft 5in international referee.

During a derby match against Hibs, after Hamilton had put in, to use Ponting's phrase, "an energetic shift", Wharton showed a red card and despatched Wee Hammy back to the dressing room after 65 minutes with the words, "Mr Hamilton, the time has now arrived for you to be reunited with your teeth." Off the field trundled Wee Hammy. At a Scottish junior FA lunch some years later, when "Tiny" was my neighbour, I asked him exactly what had occurred. He replied, "To his great credit Wee Hammy went off with a smile, and even the usually taciturn Dave Mackay [who later starred for Spurs] emitted a rare laugh."